The world attained the first Millennium Development Goal target—to cut the 1990 poverty rate in half by 2015—five years ahead of schedule, in 2010. According to the World Bank, in 2015, one in ten people were living on less than USD 1.90 a day. Nearly 1.1 billion fewer people are living in extreme poverty than in 1990. In 2015, 736 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day. The latest World Bank projections show that if we continue down a business-as-usual path, the world will not be able to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Children, too, are victims of global poverty, with 29000 children dying every single day from preventable causes – such as diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth – which are more often than not highly correlated with poverty.
Why is this important?
Poverty is more than just the lack of income or access to resources – it manifests itself in diminished opportunities for education, social discrimination and the inability to participate in decision-making processes. For instance, in developing countries, children in the poorest households are four times less likely to be in school than those of the richest. But extreme deprivation is not just about wellbeing and opportunity; it is a question of survival itself. In Latin America and East Asia, the poorest children are three times more likely to die by age 5 than the richest.
How can we address this?
Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere forms the first goal of the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda. It calls for ensuring social protection, enhancing access to basic services, and building resilience against the impacts of natural disasters which can cause severe damage to people’s resources and livelihoods. The international community agrees, through the Sustainable Development agenda for 2030, that economic growth must be inclusive, especially of the most poor and vulnerable, and aims to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere in the next 15 years.
India and Goal 1
Global reduction in extreme poverty was driven mainly by Asia – notably China and India. Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, the incidence of multidimensional poverty in India was almost halved, climbing down to 27.5 percent from 54.7 percent as per the 2018 global Multidimensional Poverty Index report. Within ten years, the number of poor people in India fell by more than 271 million (from 635 million to 364 million). Traditionally disadvantaged subgroups such as rural dwellers, scheduled castes and tribes, Muslims, and young children are still the poorest in 2015-16. However, the biggest reductions in multidimensional poverty has been witnessed among the poorest and traditionally disadvantaged groups – across states, castes, religions and age-groups. Multidimensional poverty among children under 10 has fallen the fastest. In 2005-06 there were 292 million poor children in India, so the latest figures represent a 47 percent decrease or a 136 million fewer children growing up in multidimensional poverty. The Government of India has many progressive schemes, including the world’s largest employment guarantee scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, and the National Social Assistance Programme.
- By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than USD1.25 a day.
- By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.
- Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.
- By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance.
- By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate- related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.
- Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions.
- Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions.