India is on the right track to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, the UN’s new Millennium Development Goals Report 2013 notes.

However, the achievements seen across the world in reducing poverty levels have not been replicated in all other goals.

The report, launched on Friday, finds that India was able to reduce its poverty rate from 49 per cent in 1994 to 42 per cent in 2005 and 33 per cent in 2010.

“If the current pace continues, India will meet the poverty reduction target by 2015,” the report says.

Extreme poverty has been defined as living below $1.25 per day per person. The global goal of reducing extreme poverty by half was achieved by 2010, five years before the deadline.

The deadline for the millennium development goals, which includes targets on poverty, hunger, health, gender equality, education and environmental indicators, will end in 2015.

However, while South Asia has done well in reducing poverty, it hasn’t done so well in reducing hunger. While in 1990, 27 per cent of the population in the region was undernourished, by 2010-12, the figure came down to 18 per cent. At about the 13.5 per cent, the target of halving the number of people suffering from hunger is still some distance away.

“The pace of change in Caribbean, Southern Asia (which includes India), and, especially, Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania appears to be too slow to meet the MDG target,” the report notes.

The study finds that over 100 million children under five are still undernourished and underweight. This means, globally, one in six children are underweight and a quarter are stunted.

However, South-East Asia has already met its target in reducing hunger.

In getting children to school the South Asia region has done significantly well, where enrolment in primary school has increased from 78 per cent to 93 per cent between 2000 and 2011. As a result, the number of out-of-school children in the region has plummeted to 12 million in 2011 from 38 million in 2000.

aesha.datta@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 5, 2013)
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