Significant progress in SDGs on clean energy, health: NITI index

Employees pose in the centrepiece installation designed by Es Devlin in partnership with Project Everyone entitled ‘Forest for Change, The Global Goals Pavilion’ consisting of pillars representing the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development in the central clearing of a forest of 400 trees during the London Design Biennale at Somerset House in London on June 1, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AFP

India saw significant improvement in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean energy, urban development and health in 2020, according to the NITI Aayog’s 2020 SDG Index. However, there has been a major decline in the areas of industry, innovation and infrastructure as well as decent work and economic growth.

Kerala retained its position at the top of the rankings in the third edition of the index, with a score of 75, followed by Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, both scoring 72. At the other end of the scale, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst performing States. However, all States showed some improvement from last year’s scores, with Mizoram and Haryana seeing the biggest gains.


Holistic development

Developed by a global consultative process on holistic development, the 17 SDGs have a 2030 deadline. The NITI Aayog launched its index in 2018 to monitor the country’s progress on the goals through data-driven assessment, and foster a competitive spirit among the States and Union Territories in achieving them.

In March, a UN assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the SDGs said the region India is part of may see rising inequality due to the pandemic. The NITI Aayog Index shows some improvement in the SDG on inequality, but a look at the indicators used to assess this goal shows that the think tank has changed the goalposts.

In 2019, the indicators for inequality included the growth rates for household expenditure per capita among the bottom 40% of rural and urban populations, as well as the Gini coefficient — a measure of the distribution of income — in rural and urban India. The 2018 indicators included the Palma ratio, another metric for income inequality.

Significant progress in SDGs on clean energy, health: NITI index

Greater weightage

Such economic measures have been omitted from the indicators used for this SDG in the 2020 edition of the NITI Aayog’s Index. Instead, it gives greater weightage to social equality indicators such as the percentage of women and SC/ST representatives in State legislatures and the panchayati raj institutions, and the levels of crime against SC/ST communities. The only economic indicator this year is the percentage of population in the lowest two wealth quintiles.

The SDGs that do deal directly with wages and industrial growth better reflect the fact that India’s economy has taken a beating over the last year. The country’s score on the SDG related to industry and infrastructure dropped 10 points to 55, while the scores on decent work dropped three points to 61. The Clean Water and Sanitation SDG also saw a five-point drop, despite flagship government schemes in this sector. In a more welcome development, the SDGs on eradication of poverty and hunger both saw significant improvement.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 11:25:33 PM |

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