Bangkok: India on Monday said that with continuous and concerted efforts, people living below poverty line will be down to 26.7 per cent by 2015, but improving sanitation facilities in the country still remains a challenge. The visiting Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India, Dr Dagubatti Purandeswari told the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) meet here that for a country with a population of 1.2 billion people, targeted poverty reduction was manifest in programmes such the flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA), the biggest programme of its kind in the world.
"We are now implementing innovative technology-enabled schemes to deliver benefits directly to targeted people through direct cash transfers, linked to a unique identity project called 'Adhaar', which has created the world's largest biometric database" she said, during a discussion on 'Sustainable Development and the Development Agenda beyond 2015', at ESCAP's 69th Annual session here.
Purandeswari stressed that by 2015 India should be able to bring the percentage of population below the poverty-line to about 26.7 per cent, which is close to Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 23.9 per cent. She noted that compared to 1990, India has half the number of houses without access to safe drinking water.
"We are hopeful of achieving the near complete provision of safe drinking water in both rural and urban sectors by 2015," she said. However, she admitted that improved sanitation facilities remained a challenge for
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