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Friday, September 10, 2010

First start caring

In year 2000, representatives from 189 countries welcomed the new millennium at the United Nations by endorsing a set of eight goals, known as Millennium Development Goals (MDG). They agreed on time-bound targets to address the developmental needs of the world at large. I am listing only the first of the eight MDGs below. The other MDGs focus on universal primary education, gender equality, infant mortality, maternal health, combating diseases, environmental sustainability and global partnership.
i. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Target 1.A: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day
  • Target 1.B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
  • Target 1.C: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
A couple of days ago, India released its 2000-2009 progress report with regard to MDGs. The report itself seems grossly behind schedule. While our status report is still for 2009, the 2010 report for the rest of the world came out three months ago.

We are alarmingly behind on the progress needed on the poverty and hunger indicators.
  • The current Planning Commission's estimates of poverty fix the poverty line at a per capita expenditure level of Rs.12 per day for rural areas and Rs.17 per day for urban areas. At this level, the percentage of poor in India is 27.5%.
  • The Tendulkar Committee in 2009 came up with a slightly altered methodology, defining the poverty line as a“starvation line”. At a per capita per day level of Rs.15 for rural areas and Rs.19 for urban areas, the poverty percentage is set at 37%.
  • Government of India's National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS), by using 2004-05 National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) data, pegged the percentage of population living on a per capita per day expenditure of less than Rs.20 at an astounding 77%.

My point? There is no doubt an urgent need to substantially accelerate the efforts for hunger and poverty eradication in India. I believe this CANNOT be done unless a LARGE number of sensible, educated and "fortunate" people PERSONALLY and emotionally relate to this crisis. What exactly you can do at this time is less important. When you truly have sensitivity, concern and a knowledge of the ground realities, suitable action will automatically ensue. So, don' worry about what you can do. First start caring.

1 comment:

  1. The awakened shall wake up the others...

    Thanks Sreerama