One third of the world’s 1.2 billion poorest people live in India, according to the latest Millennium Development Goals report by the U.N.
India only managed to reduce its poverty rate (the ratio of the number of people who fall below the poverty line and a country’s total population) from 49.4% in 1994 to 42% in 2005 and 32.7% in 2010. By contrast, regional rival China brought it down from 60% in 1990 to an impressive 16% in 2005 and just 12% in 2010.
India also accounted for the highest number of under-five deaths in the world in 2012, with 1.4 million children not reaching their fifth birthday.
“We don’t have to be proud of what we’ve done,” admitted minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla to the Times Of India on Wednesday. “Poverty is the biggest challenge.”