Expense Account, Mint
The world hit the Millennium Development Goal (set in 1990) of halving poverty five years ahead of time in 2010, but delve deeper into the numbers and it is clear that India has reason to worry. It has been China’s ability to take 660 million people out of poverty that has powered the achievement. India has been the drag on this number with Indian poor, who live on less than $1.25 a day, making up about half of the 1.3 billion poor in the world. Poverty persists in India though per capita income has quadrupled in the 15-year period to 2010. Direct reflections of persistent poverty are poor social indicators. Life expectancy at birth in India has improved from 58 to 64 over the 15 years, but we’re behind our immediate neighbours—China is at 73, even Bangladesh and Pakistan are ahead at 67—not to speak of global peers. India’s access to improved sanitation more than doubled to 31% of the population, but China is at 55%, Bangladesh at 53% and Pakistan at 45%. The persistence of poverty and the sluggishness of social indicators suggest that something is wrong with the Indian model of growth.