Millennium goals to take years

India is below African countries of Djibuti, Burkina Faso and Togo in Global Hunger Index (GHI). It has registered a mere one per cent decline in child malnutrition since 1999.
With such a record India is not in a “comfortable position” to fulfill the MDGs as there are only five years left to meet the deadline by 2015.

The study also expressed doubts whether India could meet the target of universal enrolment of every child to school by 2015. The report titled “A Response to the India-Country Report on Millennium Development Goals” has been prepared by a conglomeration of civil society groups.

Pointing to high rate of dropouts in primary schools, the report said the case was more vulnerable in case of children of marginalised sections of the society, and those with some kind of disability and from the most backward areas of the country. India’s performance of female literacy in the age group of 15-24 falls below the average of sub-Saharan countries.

“Only 66 per cent of the children enrolled in Grade I survive to go on to Grade V. On an average there are only three classrooms per primary school in India and there are only three teachers per school. About 14 per cent of the schools have a single classroom each and single-teacher schools constitute similar proportion,” the report said.

Referring to the area of maternal health as a matter of concern the report said although there were promising patterns of reduction in MMR (Maternal Mortality Rate) within Kerala, West Bengal and surprisingly Bihar and Jharkhand, the most worrying situation was in the states like Assam, Haryana, Orissa, where the MMR increased to 480, 186 and 303 respectively.

The statistical projection is that in 2015 there will be at least four states that will have MMR higher than the 2004-06 national average of 254.

Citing figures from the Registrar General, the report said of the 70 to 80 thousand maternal deaths in India each year, 38 per cent could be attributed to heavy bleeding, 11 per cent to infections, eight per cent unsafe abortions and five per cent to obstructed labour.

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