The Asian Development Bank said India will not meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets as in the case of other countries in the Asia Pacific region, despite making significant improvement in access to primary education.
ADB in its annual statistical publication, Key Indicators 2006 said the MDG targets for universal primary enrollment and a two-thirds reduction in child mortality were unlikely to be met unless governments rapidly intensified efforts to improve basic education and access to primary health care for the poor. The multilateral funding agency said India along with Bangladesh had made significant progress in improving access to primary schooling but concerns remained regarding the quality to basic education and inequalities in enrollment rates. It also said India was in danger of falling short of the target to reduce the under-five child mortality rate to two-thirds of 1990 levels by 2015. ADB put Cambodia, Pakistan and several Central Asian republics in the same category as India which were unlikely to meet the target. Commenting on the findings, ADB economist and author of the report Ajay Tandon said policies aimed at reducing inequalities in health and education needed to be based in careful, evidence-based analysis of the constraints at the country level. He said in many countries inequalities were exacerbated by public spending that supports better-off segments of society, such as tertiary education but does little to help the poor.