January 1, 2020 12:50:35 am
In the latest edition of NITI Aayog’s annual assessment of progress made by states in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDG), Kerala retained the top slot, followed closely by Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In the lower ranks, still, are Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, and Uttar Pradesh, with Bihar at the bottom. This latest report, which is much more expansive in nature than the previous edition, provides insight on the variations in states’ performance across different parameters, and also serves as a useful guide to locate where state intervention is needed to achieve the SDGs.
The SDG Index 2019 measures the performance of states and Union territories on indicators such as poverty, hunger, gender equality, health, education, and clean water and sanitation, among others. While the 2018 index measured performance on 13 of the 17 SDG goals, the latest edition goes one step further, covering all 17 SDGs (a qualitative assessment has been made for measuring performance on partnerships). It has been constructed using 100 indicators, and covers 54 targets. At the aggregate level, India’s composite score has improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019, much of the improvement taking place due to progress on five goals — clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; life on land, and peace, justice, and strong institutions. On all these indicators, India has scored between 65 and 99. The improvement on these parameters, in part, stems from the beneficial impact of various government programmes. For instance, improvement on clean water and sanitation has been largely driven by the progress made by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan in eliminating open defecation, while the increased coverage of LPG, as well as the surge in electricity connections has helped shore up performance on affordable and clean energy. Large challenges remain, however, in areas of health, nutrition, basic infrastructure, quality of education, among others. On two goals in particular — gender equality and zero hunger — far greater attention is required as the country’s score on both is less than 50.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the adoption of SDGs. The 17 SDGs and 169 related targets are to be achieved by 2030. As India’s success in achieving these goals will largely determine global outcomes, achieving these targets should be the cornerstone of economic policy. This calls for reorienting public policy away from its short-term emphases, towards focusing on long-term goals.
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