In recent years, India has enjoyed consistently high rates of growth and steady improvement in human development. However, even as the world’s largest democracy remained resilient in face of the global economic crisis, the country faces a critical challenge similar to several other BRICS counterparts – high growth has been accompanied by persistent poverty and inequality.
The country’s Human Development Index value when adjusted for inequality loses 28 percent of its value. The imperative of faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth is central to the government’s national development agenda and a series of progressive schemes introduced by the government.
India’s national Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Report released in 2015 reveals that while significant progress has been made on achieving targets on poverty reduction, education, and HIV at aggregate levels, the results have been uneven. Much work remains to be done in reducing hunger, improving maternal mortality rates and enabling greater access to water and sanitation targets, as well as reducing social and geographic inequalities in achieving these targets.
In addition, while measures have been taken to reverse the loss of environmental resources by improving the coverage of forest area, protected areas and reducing CFC emissions, carbon dioxide emissions and energy intensity still remain areas of concern.
Rising gender inequality hampers India’s progress on development goals. Women continue to be excluded from social, economic and political domains.
Home to 1.21 billion people, India’s rate of progress affects the achievement of development goals globally. However, progress made during the MDGs period has proven that, with sound strategies and targeted interventions, global action can work. India is poised to carry forward this momentum into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for ‘transforming our world’ and ensuring that the most vulnerable are not left behind.