United Nations: India has sought concerted global action to eradicate poverty, saying inequality within countries cannot be meaningfully addressed without tackling the issue of inequality between nations.
"Given the enormity of challenges facing us, we cannot afford the luxury of debating sophisticated alternative options to target poverty and inequality. Our needs are immediate, and grow every passing minute," said India`s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Asoke Mukerji.
He was speaking at the launch here yesterday of the book `Humanity Divided: Confronting Inequality in Developing` authored by Selim Jahan, Magdy Martinez-Soliman and Anuradha Seth.
Mukerji said capacity building, employment generation, education, vocational training, rural development and mobilisation of resources among others that aim at achieving poverty eradication are the tools of "first choice" to address the challenges confronting the nations.
"The issue of inequality within countries cannot be addressed meaningfully without also simultaneously addressing the issue of inequality between countries, which tends to exacerbate inequalities within countries," he added.
Mukerji highlighted the crucial steps taken by India in tackling the problem of poverty, joblessness and also in bridging the inequalities between rural and urban areas.
He spoke of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, a law guaranteeing the right of rural households to a minimum of 100 days of work a year.
Mukerji said the legislation has been a "milestone" in social policy and employment creation and its rights-based approach, reliance on local self-government has made it an important public endeavour.
He added that as the Act was implemented, job creation accelerated from less than one billion workdays distributed among 20 million households in the Act`s first year of operation 2006-07 to 2.5 billion workdays for 50 million households in 2010-11.
Mukerji also shared details of the AADHAR project, which has been launched to create an ID for each of the 1.2 billion strong population in India.
He told the UN gathering that the project ensures a "unique identity" for each inhabitant by basing it on biometric and other data and is aimed at delivering better public services directly to its end recipient.
Mukerji said: "I have cited these two examples to illustrate that the Indian experience adapts new tools made available to us by technology to meet the objectives enshrined in our Constitution, especially directed to remove poverty and inequality.
"Though we still have a long way to go, both these schemes have been pivotal in changing the development discourse, especially of rural empowerment in India."