Development after 2015
Ten Goals to Make a Difference for Those Left Behind in India
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been a great laboratory for poverty reduction, with major successes and frustrating failures. These fifteen years of experience provide us the wisdom to do better in a deeply changed world. This paper summarises the outcomes of consultations and studies around the question: what new framework will make a difference for groups in India that face acute poverty and social exclusion? The question brings several challenges to the forefront—addressing inequalities and exclusion; impacting on the politics of poverty in sovereign nations; financing the goals in a context where the role of aid is diminishing. The paper proposes to address these challenges in 10 goals that build on the current framework but will help make a difference for those at the very bottom.
The importance of India’s example hardly needs to be stressed. Globally, the majority of poor now live in middle income countries. India is home to more poor people than any other country, despite crossing the World Bank’s threshold to qualify as a middle income country in 2008. In-country inequalities are rising worldwide; the rise has been dramatic in India, and income inequalities now rival with South Africa and Brazil. A massive demographic shift from rural to urban regions generates new dimensions of poverty: though rates of urbanisation have been relatively limited in India. Poverty reduction among excluded groups has been slowest in cities, where much of India’s growth in GDP is created. A trend that raises the question of urban poverty with urgency. Finally, with foreign aid accounting for no more than 2.8 per cent of public expenditure on services and a government that is the game-setter on poverty reduction, India is representative of a global context where the role of aid is diminishing.