India has expanded food security net, made strides in education and sanitation but gender equality, health need more attention
In rural India, 36.52 percent population was getting a safe piped water supply in 2017 and it has increased to 40.50 percent in December 2019.
New Delhi: The first progress report of sustainable development goals has some good news as well as challenges for the government for inclusive development. While there is considerable progress in achieving the target of zero hunger and malnutrition by 2030, there are certain areas like gender equality and health, which requires a cohesive response.
The 70th session of the UN General Assembly held on 25 September 2015 had adopted the agenda for sustainable development goals for 2030. These goals seek to address not only the root causes of poverty but also a universal need for development, integrating the social, economic and environmental issues.
The percentage of the population covered under food security is up from 95 percent in 2015 to 97.62 percent by the end of 2019. The agriculture productivity, particularly of wheat has increased from 3,034 kg per hectare in 2015 to 3,507 kg per hectare in 2019 and rice productivity increased from 2,400 kg per hectare in 2015 to 2,659 kg per hectare in 2019.
By 2030, the government aim is to ensure that entire population, especially those in vulnerable situations, have sufficient nutritious food all year by supporting small-scale farmers and creating equal access to land, technology and markets to eradicate poverty.
The government note reviewed by Firstpost outlines the agenda for future: “Ensure 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, natural resources and financial services. Build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.”
At six ministries — Agriculture, Rural Development, Housing and Poverty Alleviation, Drinking Water, Panchayati Raj and Urban Development — are working in coordination to meet this objective. Around 21.92 percent of the population living below the national poverty line.
In rural India, 36.52 percent population was getting a safe piped water supply in 2017 and it has increased to 40.50 percent in December 2019. In the sanitation category, 18.45 percent districts had achieved open defecation free target in 2017 which has increased to 88.13 percent in 2019.
The objective of inclusive and equitable quality education has witnessed significant improvement. The gross enrolment for tertiary education increased from 24.5 percent in 2015 to 28.3 percent in 2019. Even the percentage of trained teachers in primary, secondary and higher secondary witnessed substantial increase.
In 2015, percentage of trained primary teachers was 75.49 percent, secondary school was 78.52 percent and secondary higher secondary was 64.45 percent which increased to 77.85 percent for primary, 83.69 percent for secondary and 87.24 percent in higher secondary education.
One of the agenda where coordinated effort is needed to meet the target is gender equality ensuring women's full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
While the proportion of seats held by women in Lok Sabha have gone up from 11.42 percent in 2014 to 14.36 percent in 2019, the proportion of women in managerial position have come down. Another objective is to give women equal rights to economic resources as well as access to ownership and control over the land.
In this regard, only 13.96 percent women have operational landholding. There is also significant gap in wages between men and women in casual labour and agriculture wages. The government is still compiling the data related to percentage of women having an account at a formal financial institution.
Another area of concern is health where percentage of government spending including current and capital expenditure to the GDP witnessed a minuscule increase from 1.19 percent in 2015 to 1.33 percent in 2018.
According to the government document, in the next 10 years, it has to achieve universal health coverage, access to affordable, essential medicines, vaccines for all and substantially reduce the maternal mortality ratio.
The government has released the data till 2017 only which suggest small reduction from 130 maternal mortality per 1 lakh in 2014 to 122 in 2017. It has to be brought down to less than 70 per lakh in the next 10 years.
Only 47.70 percent married women have access to modern family planning methods. As fas as fatality ratio of dengue are concerned, the government data suggest that it remain consistent since 2015. The data of cancer deaths is still under preparation while cases related to vector-borne diseases have come down.
The government note said that Ministry of Health, Ayush, Environment and Commerce Ministry have been tasked to formulate national strategy in order to support the research and development of vaccines, substantially increase health financing, recruitment, training and retention of health workforce and reduce the number of deaths and illness from hazardous chemicals, air and water pollution and contamination.
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