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India's income disparity hindering MDGs: UN official

Posted on Feb 18 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, Feb 18 : The lack of uniformity in income distribution in India was a hindrance to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UN for 2015, a Unicef official said here Tuesday.

Asadur Rahman, chief of field office for the Unicef in West Bengal, said that despite political commitment to water supply and sanitation issues, the "drive for result" in those areas needs to be stronger in the country.

"There are disparities... great disparities in income distribution which is a major hindrance. The group of people who do not have access to basic facilities... the challenge is to reach out to them," Rahman told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivation. This pledge became the eight MDGs to be achieved by 2015.

One of the goals is to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

The UN official was speaking at the launch of an "information, education and communication campaign on safe drinking water and sanitation" in the state in collaboration with Unicef.

"Communities like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the minorities are far behind in availing basic facilities... so the stress should be to reach out to them," he said.

Comparing the situation in Bangladesh, he said that besides strong political commitment, community empowerment was a key factor in the country's higher social indicators.

"The political commitment is there in India but the enforcement has to be brought about. The drive to achieve is not very strong. Community empowerment played a big role in Bangladesh and the same needs to be boosted here as well.

"There are some areas where India has performed well but some areas are still a challenge," he said, adding that the areas where India needs to gear up includes child mortality and sanitation.

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