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India has made notable progress on MDGs: UN

New Delhi, Feb 4
India has made notable progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set for 2015, but much needs to be done on the fronts of poverty and education, a UN report said Wednesday.

Though India has made notable progress towards reaching the MDGs, achievements across the goals vary, according to the report titled "India and the MDGs".

The report said India has already achieved the target for reducing poverty by half by official estimates and was close to doing so by international estimates. However, the progress was uneven.

"Over 270 million people in India in 2012 still remained trapped in extreme poverty making the post-2015 goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 challenging but feasible," the report said.

Similarly, though India has achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment, latest data suggests that India is off-track on targets to achieve universal enrolment and completion.

"Large number of children still remain out of school and fail to complete primary education. The quality of education is also a major concern," it said.

India, the study said, was set to achieve the targets of reducing hunger by half, maternal mortality by three quarters and has halved the proportion of population without access to clean drinking water.

Shamshad Akhtar, UN under-secretary general and executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia, said: "Over the years, the MDGs have pushed governments around the world to mainstream poverty reduction, gender parity, education and health and such basic needs as water and sanitation in their development agenda."

"India's achievements towards the MDGs are beyond doubt considerable... yet the progress has been uneven across goals and across states, and inequalities have risen," she said. "The key message is not to leave anyone behind."

The MDGs are eight international development goals that were established following the millennium summit of the UN in 2000.

All 189 UN member states at the time (there are 193 currently), and at least 23 international organisations, committed to help achieve the goals by 2015.

Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), said: "There was a problem with MDGs as they had aggregate indicators and they did not have gender and income segregation."