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NITI Aayog has recently released the second edition of Sustainable development goals India Index which comprehensively documents the progress made by all states and union Territories towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets. While Kerala has retained the top position in states, Bihar is at the bottom of SDG India Index 2019 though it has improved its score from 48 in 2018 to 50 this year. Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim have joined all the southern states in the top tier of front runners who scored more than 65 points out of 100. India’s progress in the SDGs is crucial for the world as we are home to about one sixth of the world’s population.

The SDG India Index 2019-20:

  • The SDG India Index 2019-20, developed by NITI Aayog, was launched on December 30th, 2019.
  • NITI Aayog today released the second edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index, which comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets.
  • The SDG India Index—which has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), United Nations in India, and Global Green Growth Institute.
  • The SDG India Index 2019 tracks progress of all States and UTs on 100 indicators drawn from the MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework (NIF). The process of selection of these indicators included multiple consultations with Union ministries/departments and States/UTs.
  • The SDG India Index 2019 is more robust than the first edition on account of wider coverage of goals, targets, and indicators with greater alignment with the NIF.
  • The Index spans 16 out of 17 SDGs with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17. This marks an improvement over the 2018 Index, which covered only 13 goals.
  • Additionally, this year, the SDG India Index report has a new section on profiles of all 37 States and UTs, which will be very useful to analyse their performance on all goals in a lucid manner.
  • NITI Aayog has the twin mandate to oversee the implementation of SDGs in the country and promote competitive and cooperative federalism among States and UTs.
  • A composite score was computed in the range of 0–100 for each State/UT based on its aggregate performance across 16 SDGs, indicating the average performance of every State/UT towards achieving 16 SDGs and their respective targets. If a State/UT achieves a score of 100, it signifies it has achieved the 2030 national targets. The higher the score of a State/UT, the closer it is towards achieving the targets.

Classification criteria based on SDG India Index score is as follows:

  • Aspirant: 0–49
  • Performer: 50–64
  • Front Runner: 65–99
  • Achiever: 100

How will the Index will be useful to States/UTs?

  • Support States/UTs to assess their progress against national targets and performance of their peers to understand reasons for differential performance and devise better strategies to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
  • Support States/UTs to identify priority areas in which they need to invest and improve by enabling them to measure incremental progress.
  • Highlight data gaps related across SDGs for India to develop its statistical systems at the national and State levels.

Highlights of the index:

  • India’s composite score has improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019, thereby showing noticeable progress.
  • The maximum gains been made in Goals 6 (clean water and sanitation), Goal 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure) and Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy).
  • All three states that were in the ‘Aspirant’ category (with score/s in the range of 0–49)—Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam—have graduated to the ‘Performer’ category (50–64).
  • Five states—Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Goa, and Sikkim—moved up from the ‘Performer’ category to the ‘Front Runner’ category (65–99).
  • Kerala achieved the first rank in the composite SDG Index with a score of 70, followed by Himachal Pradesh at 69.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu ranked at the third position with the score of 67 and Karnataka has a score of 66.
  • The biggest improvers since 2018 are UP (which has moved from the 29th position to the 23rd), Orissa (23rd to 15th), and Sikkim (15th to 7th).
  • While Bihar improved its score from 48 in 2018 to 50 in 2019, it still has a long way to go in achieving the targets.
  • The world is now in the fifth year of the SDG era.
  • India’s National Development Agenda is mirrored in the SDGs. India’s progress in the global Goals is crucial for the world as the country is home to about one-sixth of the world’s population.

Significance and analysis:

  • India is the first country in the world with a government-led, sub-national measure of progress on Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The SDG India Index acts as a bridge between these mandates, aligning the SDGs with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s clarion call of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, which embodies the five Ps of the global SDG movement: people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace.
  • The Index is designed to function as a tool for focused policy dialogue, formulation and implementation, and moving towards development action pegged to globally recognizable metrics.
  • The Index also supplements NITI Aayog’s continuous efforts to encourage evidence-based policymaking by supporting States/UTs to benchmark their progress, identifying priority areas and sharing best practices.
  • The SDG India Index 2019 also helps highlight crucial gaps related to monitoring SDGs and the need for improving statistical systems at the National/State/UT levels.
  • Further, the Index highlights the need for improvements in data collection, reporting and methodology.
  • NITI Aayog is also exploring partnerships for disaggregating data and developing capacity for real-time monitoring and measuring incremental progress.
  • There are many schemes to achieve those goals which the central and state governments are running.
  • There is a need to train and motivate people to achieve the goals.
  • The SDGs still remain outside of the system. We are not mainstreaming many of the concerns.
  • There is a lot of overlap. India has 40% food wastage which impact SDG goal 2.
  • The growth which has taken in technology is very critical in achieving our targets.
  • If we use cutting edge technology in the monitoring and evaluation in a correct way in achieving SDGs it will give results.
  • Interconnectivity between the goal is very critical and important.
  • Each district, taluk and gram panchayats should have a SDG plan.
  • We should develop proper monitoring measure.
  • There is a need that Technology and People should converge.