India’s economic progress over the last decade has been remarkable. The country has also made an impressive contribution to global economic growth, which averaged 8.3% (in purchasing power parity) between 2001 and 2007, and rose significantly to 14.4% by 2014. In fact, in 2012 and 2013, India’s contribution to global growth exceeded that of the United States.
India’s progress globally has been accompanied by rapid internal change. Poverty reduction has declined over the past two decades, with close to 133 million people lifted out of poverty. Much of this can be attributed to urban growth which has been responsible for 80% of the fall in poverty levels. India’s infant mortality rate has also decreased, from 47 to 40 between 2010 and 2013, as has the maternal mortality rate, which dropped from 212 to 167 between 2007 and 2013.
Despite these achievements, much progress remains to be made. More than 50% of the population is considered multi-dimensionally poor and an additional 16.7% risk falling into poverty. Deprivation and inequality are widespread; consumption and income inequalities are high, while social inequity linked to gender, caste and tribe is perpetual; growth has not been accompanied by sufficient employment generation; hunger and malnutrition are commonplace and there are significant challenges in ensuring the reproductive health and rights of adolescents.
The Government of India played a key role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The challenge now is to translate the SDGs into concrete action. Several of the ambitious programmes launched by the government directly contribute to a number of SDGs: The Clean India campaign; The End Open Defecation by 2019 Campaign; Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme; The Make in India Campaign; the 100 Smart Cities initiative; Health Assurance for All; and the Prime Minister’s Financial Inclusion Scheme, among others. Emphasis has been placed on skill development and entrepreneurship to ensure a direct focus on youth.
To counter economic inequality, an inclusive economic growth model should promote equal access to resources and services, while concurrently creating decent jobs and livelihoods for all women and men. The government has given high priority to improving governance and making administration transparent and more responsive to public needs.
In response to today’s development challenges and in support of government priorities, UN agencies, in collaboration with the government, have identified a number of key issues and regions and have prioritised the following eight areas:
- POVERTY AND URBANISATION
Tackling poverty, inequality and rapid urbanisation is key to ensuring equitable and inclusive development.
- NUTRITION AND FOOD SECURITY
Eliminating hunger and ensuring food security contributes to peace, stability and poverty reduction.
- EDUCATION AND EMPLOYABILITY
Enhancing access to quality learning can empower everyone to participate fully through education, training and jobs.
- HEALTH, WATER AND SANITATION
Availability of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene are key to ensuring equal access to health and sanitation.
- SKILLING, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND JOB CREATION
Encouraging entrepreneurship stimulates innovation and domestic demand, generating employment and creating new opportunities.
- NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, COMMUNITY RESILIENCE AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Adequate and clean energy, addressing climate change and resilience at all levels is key to a sustainable future for all.
- GENDER EQUALITY AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Improving the status of women, girls and youth can be a game-changer for the country.
Improving infrastructure, reducing geographical isolation, and ensuring adequate utilisation of mineral resources, hydropower and biodiversity in the North-East.