New Delhi: One third of the extreme poor global population reside in India which has also recorded the highest number of under-five deaths in the world, the latest UN Millennium Development Goals report has said.
Minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla, who released the report here, said its findings present a challenge to the government under Narendra Modi and that they would be able to surmount it. “Good days will come,” she said.
“We don’t have to be proud of what we have done. Poverty is the biggest challenge… I am sure when the next report comes, we will have done much better,” she said, stressing on Prime Minister’s commitment to poverty elimination and “sabka saath sabka vikas (With all, development for all)”. Though the report’s figures for various human development parameters are mostly specific to different regions of the world, it has made references to India none of which, she said, are “flattering”.
Heptulla has had a long association with the UN programme and was closely involved with it during the previous NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
According to the report, almost 60% of the people who defecate in the open reside in India, which has also accounted for 17% of global maternal deaths.
China, which has made rapid strides in reducing poverty, follows India in housing the extreme poor global population and was home to 13% of them in 2010, followed by Nigeria at 9% and Bangladesh at 5%, it said.
South Asia, of which India is the largest and most populous country, has fared worse than other Asian regions in most of the parameters.
The region has, however, done well in school enrolment.