NGOs review India's progress on MDGs

New Delhi: It is now over a year since the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government took over the reigns in India in May 2004. As part of the action to ensure that the Government delivers on promises made, civil society organizations in India undertook a detailed review of the Common Minimum Program (CMP).

The Common Minimum Program is in the UPA Government's commitment to the nation. Social Watch India--which is the lead organization of the Indian Millennium Campaign "Wada Na Todo"--compared the goals of the CMP with the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the Indian Government at a UN summit in September 2000, and reported that the CMP was clearly more ambitious in terms of improving the quality of lives of the poor in India.

Several civil society organizations met on the May 20, to review the progress made on the commitments of the government and to actively seek accountability to ensure that these are not merely reduced to a set of empty pronouncements.

The organizing partners included the Institute of Social Sciences, National Centre for Advocacy Studies, Indian Social Institute, ActionAid International India, National Social Watch, Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, ANHAD, SANSAD, NACDOR, Aman Trust, Human Rights Law Network, OneWorld South Asia and NCDHR.

The analysis addressed specific goals relating to eradication of poverty and hunger, provision of livelihoods, education and health, secularism and human rights, governance, and rights of marginalized communities: tribal people, dalits and women. Eminent academics, activists and journalists presented their analyses and the participants, who represented various civil society and government and non-government organizations, added specific experiences and observations.