The millennium development goals


The millennium development goals (MDG's) are a set of eight goals that was decided upon in the Millennium Summit that took place in 2000 where world leaders from all 192 countries which are a part of UN were present and agreed upon the United Nations Millennium Declaration which was the basis of the eight goals. The target for these aims was decided to be by 2015. These goals include;

  1. Eradicating extreme hunger and poverty. This was designed to help the less economically developed countries where thousands of people suffer from not being able to afford basic necessities like food and as a result, suffer from malnutrition. Many of them live from an income of under $1 a day. So, it was agreed upon to improve those people's living standards and to reduce the gap between the poor and the rich.
  2. Achieving universal primary education. This was to ensure that all children have right to enroll in a primary school and complete it. It was also aimed that there should be sufficient literacy levels among 15-24 year olds, since they are the future of their country.
  3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women. It was decided that women should realize their rights and have equal opportunities as men. It was aimed that women should be equally educated as the men and have equal amount of seats in the parliament as much as the men.
  4. Reducing child mortality. It was aimed that the rate of infant mortality under the age of five should be reduced by two-thirds. The number of infant mortality was targeted to be reduced by the age of one itself and the proportion on these infants immunized against measles was aimed to be increased.
  5. Improving maternal health. The maternity mortality ratio was targeted to be reduced by three quarters, since a large percentage of women were dying during childbirth due to reasons such as improper health care and services. This is also related with issues such as family planning and contraception and ante natal care.
  6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. As for AIDS, they aim to educate the age group of 15-24 years old about the dangers of AIDS and about ways to prevent it. Also, the people affected by AIDS should have access to antiretroviral drugs. And for malaria, they aim to increase the knowledge and use of mosquito nets. Also, they aim to reduce the number of deaths caused by tuberculosis by detecting and curing it under DOTS. So, in general, they aim to halt and reverse these major diseases by the year 2015.
  7. Ensuring environmental sustainability. This is mainly to integrate sustainable development into country's polices and to be more eco-conscious and reduce bio-diversity loss on earth. This includes species threatened, terrestrial and marine areas, and fish conservation .Measures against the ozone layer depletion, deforestation, CO2 emission too is being encouraged. They also aim to halve number of people living with bad conditions such as poor sanitation and unclean water in poor societies and in slums.
  8. Developing a global partnership for development. This goal includes measures to work for rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory and fair trading and finance system. This is to have good governance and to reduce poverty. This mainly applies to LEDC's. These countries are to be given special assistance to help with their governance and financial situation.

Now, dealing with the issue of India, which I shall be taking as my case study country, I will be addressing how far India has gone with meeting the goals given above.

No much improvement has been seen with the ratio of poverty between 1990 and 2000 in India. This is planned to be achieved by raising the income level through expanding employment and other opportunities. India's achievement in poverty reduction is one of the leading factors in the global action against poverty. With more than 2.3 billion people in India and China alone, their major advances in poverty reduction drive developing world averages. The target set for poverty reduction is 19% population below the poverty line by 2015. The Indian Planning Commission expects to meet the poverty target, however, miss the target for hunger eradication.

As for the education system in India, there have been constructions of schools and provision materials for the students in the various states. However, there has not been a very noticeable change in the literacy levels yet. The biggest challenges that they face is training the teachers, and the dropout rates from the schools. There are varying levels of literacy in the different states, regions and social groups in India, and they are not uniform.

On the other hand, India's approach to bridging the gender divide is improving women's literacy. Female literacy has gone up from 39% in 1991 to 54% in 2001. But this is still below the 75% literacy rate for men in 2001. However the male-female literacy gap has reduced from 25% in 1991 to 22% in 2001. The literacy gap between the sexes is obviously higher in rural than in urban areas. The National Literacy Mission that started in 1988 has been working to improve women's literacy and reducing the gender gap.

As for the case of child mortality, malnutrition has been found the reason for nearly 50% of child deaths in India. According to the Planning Commission, India is unlikely to achieve the targets for child mortality and infant mortality by 2015. In India, approximately 1.72 million children die every year before reaching their first birthday. Though the survival rate is much improved in recent years, the slow pace of reduction in IMR hinders the reach of target of Millennium development goal. However, there has been some positive improvement where the mortality rate has been steadily declining in India from 146 in 1951 to 58 in 2005, but this has been slowly declining since 1993.Infant Mortality Rate is higher in rural areas than urban and higher for girls than boys. This could be because of sex preference, as well as lousy health care.

It was said that in 2001-03, India's maternal mortality rate was 301 with over a little over 48% births being attended by skilled health personnel. Again, its projected that India will miss the target for 2015, which is less than 109. Hospital based data shows that states that have relatively better socio-economic status and higher educational levels e.g. Kerala, have lower rates of Maternal mortality rate. It is found to be high in North and central India than southern and Western regions. Recently, the Indian government has launched an organization[1] to help the health and delivery care so as to reduce the MMR.

India had about 2.5 million people infected by HIV[2]. So, an organization called the National Health Policy set out a number of goals to address HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases. It aims to halve the mortality rate due to diseases such as TB, malaria, other vector and water-borne diseases, and to achieve zero level growth of HIV AIDS, and to increase health expenditure by government. However, achieving "zero level growth of HIV AIDS" seems unlikely given the huge percentage of people infected. Malaria is still continuing to be a problem in India. But measures have been taken by various organizations to deal with this problem and there seems to be a good chance of reaching the goal with a consistent decline India has a very low and uneven consumption of fresh water. So the government aims to provide more fresh water to the rural areas and to emphasize the importance of conserving it. The priorities have been classified to drinking, hydro-power, industries, etc. the government programs to practice rainwater harvesting, irrigation programs and watershed programs. Data has shown that there has been a slow improvement due to factors such as incompetence of the society and of staff responsible.

As far as development is concerned, India's target focus within this goal is to make available the benefits of technology to a wider mass in cooperation with the private sector. The country's growth policy of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has put India in the lead in the global services trade. There has also been marked progress in the telecom sector. The share of private telecom operators has increased to over 65% by the end of March 2007 due to positive and proactive government policies. The number of internet users has also increased to 3.5 persons per 100 from 2001 to 2006. This figures show a promising future in technology for India.

So, India's millennium development goals were reached to a certain extent and remarkable progress has been made. However, it still lacks enough support in certain goals such as for reducing child and maternal mortality as well as sustaining the environment. It is common knowledge that the pollution levels in India are one of the highest in the world.

So, the goals that India is promising to reach are what put it the country in a good position among the other countries, and in conclusion, we hope that all the predicted targets will be successfully reached by 2015.



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