Millennium Development Goals
Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the MDGs are both global and local, tailored by each country to suit specific development needs. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals, which all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015.
India’s achievement in poverty reduction is one of the leading factors in the global action against poverty. The Millennium Project Report states that “with more than 2.3 billion people in these two countries (China and India) alone, their major advances in poverty reduction drive developing world averages.”
India’s Tenth Five-Year Plan (2003-2007) included targets of human development that can be monitored, consistent with, but more ambitious than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Eleventh Five-Year Plan (2008-2012) proposes state-specific targets. The Government has launched several large programmes with regard to the MDGs. The areas that require redoubled efforts include literacy, nutrition, maternal mortality and child mortality. The responsibility of implementing most of the social sector programmes relating to the Goals lies with the provincial governments.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, with an annual allocation of $2.5 billion, guarantees 100 days of work to every household. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission has allocated $7 billion over a seven-year period to provide basic services to the urban poor in 63 major cities. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All Campaign), launched in the year 2000, is a national programme to make elementary education accessible to all. The National Rural Health Mission is focused on basic health-care delivery systems through a synergistic approach focusing on sanitation, water, nutrition, and health care.
A major task for India is the improvement of service delivery and capacity development, at district and local levels, in order to implement and monitor very large programmes. Social, economic, and political inclusion, decreasing the incidence of violence (gender/caste-based) and reduction of regional disparities require concerted efforts to promote greater access of vulnerable groups (such as women, dalits, tribal groups, and religious minorities) to basic services, including credit and social security, opportunities for decent work, and participation in decision-making. The Eleventh Plan addresses these challenges through a mix of resource allocation, incentives for institutional reform of the delivery system, and public-private partnerships.
Critical policy and plan documents of State Governments, such as Annual Economic Surveys and the Eleventh Five Year Plan, now have human development reporting integrated into them. At the state level, Madhya Pradesh has had a series of Missions on health and education, including iodine deficiency, since the mid-1990s. Since 2006, the government of Maharashtra has focused the Maharashtra Human Development Mission around the MDGs. Its objective is to meet the eight Goals in 12 districts ranking low on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the concept of human development is being increasingly integrated into district planning through district-specific Human Development Reports (HDRs).
The Government of India has identified 250 such districts for which a Backward Regions Grant Fund provides financial support for district planning and programme implementation. At the city level, the Delhi HDR has specified Delhi Development Goals, customizing the MDGs to a purely urban context. At the national level, a concerted effort is being made to implement the Eleventh Five-Year Plan in collaboration with civil society organizations across the country.