United Nations/New Delhi: As many as 320
million people in India and China are expected to come out of
extreme poverty in the next four years, while India`s poverty
rate is projected to drop to 22 per cent, says a UN report.
The UN Millennium Development Goals Report, however,
suggested that even though progress has been made in reducing
poverty, Southern Asia continues to lag in terms of nutrition,
sanitation and gender equality.
"In Southern Asia, however, only India, where the poverty
rate is projected to fall from 51 per cent in 1990 to about 22
per cent in 2015, is on track to cut poverty in half by the
2015 target date," the report said.
Those living on less than USD 1.25 a day are considered
Talking to reporters in New Delhi on Friday, UN World Food
Programme`s Representative and Country Director Mihoko
Tamamura said, "Despite impressive economic growth in India in
the last few years, inequalities persist among people based on
class, gender and cast."
"If India does not meet Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs), the world will not...," she noted.
According to the report, China and India combined, the
number of people living in extreme poverty between 1990 and
2005 declined by about 455 million, and additional 320 million
people are expected to come out poverty by 2015.
By 2015, it is expected that global poverty rate will
fall below 15 per cent, well under 23 per cent target.
Noting that most vulnerable sections of the society were
being left out, the report said that the poorest children have
made the least progress towards improved nutrition.
Releasing the report in New Delhi today, noted economist
Jayati Ghosh said that India can achieve MDG goals provided
there is political will and a new strategy for policies.
"There is also a requirement to rapidly expand our public
investment for achieving MDG goals," she said.
Regarding employment scenario, the report noted that
economic recovery has not created enough job opportunities,
especially in Southern Asia.
"The recent data by NSS (National Sample Survey) has
substantiated this point that economic recovery did not cover
employment. While output has recovered, employment has
not...," Ghosh said.
Millennium Development Goals include eradication of
extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary and
promoting gender equality, by 2015.
"Real progress has been made but by bypassing the most
poor and vulnerable groups... Poverty reduction does not get
translated into hunger reduction," Tamamura said.