Academic journal article Political Economy Journal of India

Performance of South Asian Economies in Meeting the MDGs and Role of the World Bank

Academic journal article Political Economy Journal of India

Performance of South Asian Economies in Meeting the MDGs and Role of the World Bank

Article excerpt

The World Bank is committed to help in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because simply put "these goals are our goals." The present study attempts to analyze the performance of South Asian Economies comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in meeting the MDGs as these are assuming great importance in the present scenario. The real development of the region will said to be achieved only if these MDGs (targets) are achieved. Moreover, there exists a direct relationship between the objectives of the International Financial Institutions and the MDGs. To quote e.g. Mission of World Bank is "working for a world free of poverty" and Asian Development Bank "Fighting poverty in Asia and the Pacific". Poverty can be eliminated through economic development, as economic development results in generating the resources necessary for human development. Thus, the study highlights the role of the World Bank towards the progress of MDGs in these South Asian Economies.

It was in the Millennium Summit, September 2000 that the World leaders adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of targets, with a deadline of 2015. These have come to be known as the MDGs. In the fiscal 2007, MDG monitoring framework was revised to include four new targets namely full and productive employment and decent work for all, access to reproductive health, access to treatment for HIV/AIDS and protection of biodiversity. The indicators for these new targets became effective in January, 2008. Table -1 list the MDGs and the corresponding targets and indicators for monitoring progress. The first MDG targets the poor directly, while the next six focus on the underlying causes of poverty, such as lack of access to education, health care and employment' gender inequality; poor housing conditions; and environmental degradation. The last goal is to develop a global partnership for development and focus on how the industrialized countries can work with the poorer countries to enhance the latter's standard of living.

Section 2 examines the progress of South Asian Economies in achieving the MDGs with the help of Asian Development Bank data and methodology.

Goal 1: Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

Target 1 A: Proportion of population below $1.25 per day.

The target 1 A is to half the proportion of people between 1990-2015 whose income is less than $1.25 a day. It has been found over the time, there has been a decrease in the percentage of the people living below poverty line in all the South Asian countries whose data is available (when compared with their respective earliest year) (Table-2). The lowest percentage was that of Sri Lanka, 4.1 percent for fiscal year 2010 which was 15 percent for fiscal year 1991, followed by Pakistan (21 percent for 2008 which was 64.7 percent in 1991), Bhutan 10.2 percent for 2007 (29.3 percent in 2003) and India 32.7 percent in 2010 which was 49.4 percent in 1994. Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka falls in the category of early achievers, $1.25 PPP a day target. Bangladesh and India has shown slow progress and they would fall short of the target unless they intensify to reduce extreme poverty. The reason behind the slow progress is their population growth which has outpaced poverty reduction.

Target 1 B: Employment to population ratio.

The other indicator for monitoring the progress of Goal 1 is the employment to population ratio (percentage 15 years and above) which has been shown in Table-3. This ratio is an indicator of an economy's ability to provide employment. It is analyzed that in most of the South Asian Economies, this ratio has improved. However, Bangladesh (68.2 in 1991 and 56 percent in 2005) Bhutan (69.8 percent in 2003 and 65.3 percent in 2011) and India (58.3 percent in 1994 and 52. …

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