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 nine areas:
- GOOD HEALTH, WELL BEING AND SANITATION
Reducing significant inequalities, disproportionate burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and poor access to quality and affordable health services.
- NO HUNGER AND RURAL POVERTY
Eliminating hunger contributes to peace, stability and poverty reduction.
- QUALITY EDUCATION AND LIFELONG LEARNING
Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
- GENDER EQUITY
Improving the status of women and girls can accelerate sustainable development.
- ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND RESILIENCE
Ensuring adequate energy supply, addressing climate change, and building adaptive capacity and resilience at the community, household, and local level.
- JOB CREATION, SKILLING AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Ensuring that most vulnerable and marginalised people in rural and urban areas have greater access to decent employment, skills development, social protection and sustainable livelihoods.
- INEQUALITY, EXCLUSION AND POVERTY ERADICATION
Eradicating extreme poverty, reducing inequalities, and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies.
Enabling youth to fully participate in the job market and gain access to employment services.
Improving infrastructure, reducing geographical isolation, and ensuring adequate utilisation of mineral resources, hydropower and biodiversity in the North-East.