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India’s SDG Index Comes with Revealing Statistics

Niti Aayog has undertaken an exercise of measuring India and its states’ and UTs’ progress towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs) for 2030, which translated in the first SDG India Index – Baseline Report 2018. The SDG India Index is endeavoured to give a comprehensive perspective on the social, economic and environmental position of the country and its states and UTs.

According to Niti Aayog, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are the top performers in India’s Sustainable Development Goals Index, which was released on 21st December 2018. The UT Chandigarh too fared well in this index. Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka are the other good performing states in this index.

SDG India Index was developed by NITI Aayog, along with the Ministry of Statistics, with the support of Global Growth Institute and the UN. It is a comprehensive yardstick to ascertain the progress of the states/UTs of India in terms of key sustainable development goals (SDG), which include removal of poverty, elimination of hunger, attaining good health and well-being (ensuring healthy lives and promotion of well-being for all at all ages), gender equality, affordable and clean energy (ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all), gender equality, clean water and sanitation (ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all), industry, innovation and infrastructure (build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation) among others through a single measurable index.

According to Niti Aayog, the SDGs comprise a set of 17 goals and 169 targets to help organise and streamline development actions for greater achievement of human wellbeing, while leaving no one behind by 2030. They are a part of Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by 193 Member States at the historic United Nations General Assembly Summit in September 2015, and came into effect on January 1, 2016.

The index takes into account of 13 of the 17 UN’s sustainable development goals. Four goals were left out of the evaluation for the reason of lack of data at the state level. Goals 12, 13, 14 and 17 were left out. The states and UTs are ranked on the basis of their performance on 62 parameters.

The index evaluates the progress of all the states and UTs of India on 62 Priority Indicators; measuring their progress on the outcomes of the interventions and schemes of the Government of India.

In SDG India Index, India’s own score has been a not so encouraging 58, which reflects that our country has not gone much beyond the halfway from attaining the UN’s sustainable development goals, which were adopted by India and 192 other nations three years back; in 2015. These UN’s sustainable goals need to be achieved by 2030.

Himachal Pradesh and Kerala’s SDG Index score are 69, whereas Tamil Nadu’s SDG Index score is 66. Chandigarh’s SDG Index score is an impressive 68. Pondicherry’s score is 65, whereas Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra have a common score of 64. Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh performed poorly in the SDG India Index. Assam’s score is 49, whereas the scores of Bihar and UP are 48 and 42 respectively. These scores indicate the distance each of the Indian states and UTs need to traverse to reach 100—the point at which the sustainable development goals are being fully met.

According to Niti Aayog, Kerala’s top position in SDG India Index is caused due to its superb performance in providing good health, reducing hunger, achieving gender equality and providing quality education. Himachal Pradesh ranks high for providing clean water and sanitation, in reducing inequalities and preserving mountain ecosystem. Among the UTs, Chandigarh takes the lead because of its worth emulating performance in providing clean water and sanitation to its people. The UT has further made good progress towards providing affordable and clean energy, generating decent work and economic growth, and providing quality education.

In terms of poverty reduction, Tamil Nadu topped the states’ list in SDG India Index, while in providing quality education Kerala emerged as the topper, with Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh close on its heels. Kerala and Tamil Nadu topped in facilitating good health and well-being.  Gender equality remains an area of concern across all states and UTs of the country, with only Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Chandigarh showing somewhat impressive results in this important indicator, as reflected in the SDG India Index.

Source: Niti Aayog, SDG India Index-Baseline Report 2018

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