Studying India was a fantastic experience for me. I have always been interested in Indian culture and I loved learning more about India as a country. It definitely has its struggles, but they have really worked hard to achieve more success in the MDGs, especially MDGs 1 and 2, which are all about giving more access to the people.
India is a large country, actually a subcontinent off of Asia, with one of the six fastest growing economies in the world and the second largest population. With almost 1.2 billion people, they have struggled-and still do struggle- with how to support their large population and give everyone a fair chance.
Obviously, this is a challenge. Twenty-nine percent of the population is living underneath the poverty line, but it is necessary to note that, while this number has been steadily decreasing, in India the poverty line is anyone who lives off of less than 29 rupees a day, which is an average of about 50 American cents. So, even though India is doing its best to support those who cannot support themselves, they are also not doing the best job of accomplishing the Millenium Development Goals one and two, which are all about giving access to those who don’t have it and halving the people who are living on less than a dollar a day.
So, while India’s accomplishments are notable, it is also important to look at other statistics to gain a full understanding of the success the MDGs are having in India. The percent of people who are living off of less than $1.25 a day is on the rise, at 42%.
The problem India faces is that a large percentage of their population is far under the poverty line of most developed countries. This means that they have to make a choice and draw a line in the sand over who gets help and who doesn’t. And they are helping. Fourteen percent more of the people in India have access to improved sanitation since 1990, while 89% of the citizens now have access to improved drinking water. These are big strides that can make an important difference.
Making lasting changes to the lives and welfare of the people of a less developed country takes time. It is not something that can be done in a week, or a year, or even ten years. It takes time to find a balance in how to provide for the people of a country without the country losing all it has. India has done a remarkable job in the little time so far, and they will continue to work hard to make their country better.