General Assembly General Assembly

High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Poverty Eradication
“Trends, Options and Strategies in Poverty Eradication Across the World”

Speaking Segment-3:
“Sharing Experience & Good Practices in Poverty Eradication”

Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, 
Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

30 June 2020

Mr. President, 

We thank the President of the General Assembly for organizing today’s important event.  We are also happy to join as a founding member of the Alliance for Poverty Eradication.

COVID-19 has delivered an enormous global shock, leading to steep recession in many countries.  The pandemic is already threatening the fulfillment of targets under Agenda 2030.

The pandemic highlights the urgent need for focused policy action to cushion its consequences, protect vulnerable populations, and improve countries’ capacity to cope with similar future events.

Mr. President,

In India, we are implementing a comprehensive development strategy to end poverty in all its forms, through, inter alia, accelerated economic growth and development, strong focus on vulnerable groups, special focus on women and children and broader social safety nets.  A wide range of programs for promoting gainful employment, and improving accessibility to basic services, such as health, nutrition, sanitation, education, skills, and clean fuel, have been operationalized.  Targeted digital intervention is making a huge impact.

Today, I am happy to share with you India’s experience and good practices in a few select areas of poverty eradication, in the overall context of our development initiatives.

First, India’s rural population is protected against unemployment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act which provides a legal guarantee of 100 days of wage employment per household in a year.  54% beneficiaries of this scheme are women.

Second, through the use of ICT, we have achieved universal financial inclusion by linking people’s banking accounts, their identification numbers and mobile phones.  We have brought over 393 million people into the mainstream financial system, including 200 million women, accelerating their economic empowerment.

Third, universal health coverage is being delivered through the National Health Protection Mission (Ayushmaan Bharat), the world’s largest, cashless and paperless, health protection scheme providing an annual cover of $7,000 to 100 million poor and vulnerable families, covering 500 million people.

Fourth, to make India malnutrition free by 2022, we have launched the Holistic Nutrition program (Poshan Abhiyan) which aims to improve nutritional outcomes for children, adolescents, pregnant women, and lactating mothers by leveraging ICT for real-time monitoring.

Fifth, access to housing for the economically disadvantaged households is being ensured under the ‘Housing for All’ initiative.  Villages of India now have access to electricity.

Sixth, to achieve universal sanitation, we launched the Clean India Mission in 2014 and over the last 6 years, over 110 million toilets have been built.  We have also launched a US$ 50 billion project to provide safe and piped drinking water to all households by 2024.

Seventh, to strength livelihood opportunities in the agriculture sector, we have taken an array of measures to improve agricultural productivity while simultaneously seeking to double farmers’ income by 2022.

Eighth, we will increase the income levels of low-income groups through better skilling and entrepreneurship opportunities and more productive employment, by introducing measures such as “Skill India” and “Startup” India.

Mr. President,

According to UNDP, as a result of the various poverty alleviation programs launched by India between 2006-2016, over 271 million people have been moved out of poverty, recording the fastest reductions in the multidimensional poverty index globally.  

To cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, India has announced a US$ 270 billion stimulus package (10% of India’s GDP), including those focussed on women and their livelihood.  These, inter alia, include PM’s Program for the Welfare of the Poor (PM Garib Kalyan Yojana), where a package of US$ 24 billion includes transfer of US$ 4.2 billion in bank accounts of 200 million poor families in the last 3 months.  Our largest food security scheme in the world will ensure sufficient food for the poor during COVID times.  We are also ensuring employment for rural labour in these difficult times.

Mr. President,

Going forward, India’s underlying development strategy will remain focused on raising incomes, improving living standards, focussing on women and children and enhancing the ease of living of all communities, while leaving no one behind.

We remain committed to further strengthening our robust development partnership with all our partners in the spirit of The World is One Family.

I thank you.