India cannot eradicate poverty by 2015: that is the assessment of the Social Watch, an NGO which monitors governance across globe. Its Basic Capabilities Index (BCI) was released in February. Social Watch coordinator Roberto Bissio told Governance Now that India’s progress has been fast in the recent years, but the poor are becoming poorer since the launch of economic liberalisation. Excerpts from an interview with Bissio:
Tell us about the global report.
The global report, which is also called Basic Capabilities Index (BCI) gives India 68 points, an increase of four points since 2004. India’s social sector is lagging behind and it can’t eradicate poverty by 2015. India figures in the same bracket as sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, the situation of the South Asia region is quite bad.
What is the significance of the report?
The countries and regions of the world are becoming increasingly polarised in spite of their international commitments to fight poverty. It is a fact that India is not progressing at desirable levels and it will not be able to achieve the basic needs of its population by 2015, the deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
What should Indian policy makers do?
There is no dearth of creative public policy schemes but the problems lies in the implementation at the grassroots, so the government has to be accountable in this regard. The whole issue is about the government accountability.
How is Basic Capabilities Index calculated?
The Basic Capability Index is an annual monitoring report on the evolution of basic social development indicators of over 130 countries on 100 points. It judges countries on three categories: the percentage of children who reach the fifth year of primary school, the mortality rate among children under five-year old and the percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel. It does not include monetary income to calculate its figure.