The New Nation
ACCORDING to the report 'Human
Development in South Asia: A Ten-Year Review' launched in Dhaka
recently, the total number of people living in poverty has not gone
down despite record economic growth in the region over the past decade.
The review marks the 10th anniversary of the first South Asia Human
Development Report by the Mahbub ul Huq Human Development Centre in
Islamabad and the report looks at human development achievement and
shortfall in the region over the last 10-year period, with particular
emphasis on the indicators of economy and education as its authors
Despite unprecedented economic growth, the total number of people in poverty has not gone down, and health and education indicators are still areas of concern. 'Bangladesh has witnessed consistent economic growth and rapid human development since the 1990s attaining near self-sufficiency in food grains', says the report. As a result of economic reforms including trade and market liberalisation, Bangladesh has registered higher growth of per capita GDP over the last 10 years. High poverty levels, rising income inequality, widespread underemployment and inadequate social sector expenditures pose serious challenges to the achievement of socio-economic goals, the report says.
Bangladesh has long way to go even if the Millennium Development Goals are achieved. If Bangladesh is able to halve the population who live in poverty by 2015 still nearly 47 million people would remain poor and more than 22 million people would be living in extreme poverty in 2015. As many in Bangladesh are still poor and food insecure, poverty reduction does not necessarily translate into less hunger and malnutrition. The benefits of economic growth have yet to be translated adequately into reduction in poverty and human deprivation throughout the South Asian region as a whole.
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