India's Sustainable Development Goals

What is SDG India Index?

1. The SDG India Index was released by the NITI Aayog and the United Nations.

2. The SDG India index is a comprehensive index to measure progress of states and union territories through a single measurable Index.

3. The index took into account 13 out of 17 goals specified by the United Nations.

4. Under the index, states will be monitored on a real-time basis across 62 of 306 national indicators outlined by the United Nations.

5. The first baseline report for 2018 was prepared with the support of the United Nations in India.

6. Based on their performance across 13 of the 17 identified SDGs, states and union territories were given scores ranging from zero to hundred.

7. With this report, India has also become the first country to present a report measuring SDG goals at a sub-national level.

8. The aim of this report is to

a) Provide a tool to policymakers and to policy implementers in the States and UT's to know their performance on SDG targets.

b) To spur competition among states and UTs, so that they learn from the best practices of each other.

When did SDG become important?

The idea of sustainable development arose with the realization that in pursuit of development extensive damage to the environment has been done.

1. In 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

2. 193 member countries including India committed to the 17 sustainable development goals.

3. The United Nations in 2016 set the sustainable development goals targets that are to be accomplished by the year 2030.

4. The sustainable development goals replaced the Millennium Development Goals.

5. However, the sustainable development goals go far beyond the Millennium Development Goals in scope.

6. Hence initiatives have been taken at both national and international level in this regard.

How is climate change linked to SDG?

1. SDG is a set of 17 goals covering development in- social, economic, environmental aspects.

2. The 2030 agenda says that sustainable development and tackling climate change goes hand in hand.

3. It says-

a) to ensure people don't go hungry, there is a need to protect the food systems.

b) to ensure sustainable cities, there is the need to protect them from storms or floods.

Thus, action on climate change is necessary for sustainable development.

4. As part of sustainable development agenda, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

Why is it important for India and the World?


1. The modern concept of development began with the invention of the engine in the 17th century.

2. The Industrial Revolution a century later started depleting natural resources at a faster pace than could be replenished

3. By the 20th century, industrialization was seen as the only path towards economic growth and removing poverty.

4. This led to an irreversible change in our environment.

5. Despite rapid urbanization and industrialization the fruits of development have not been able to reach all.

6. We are at 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level already.

7. Also, increasing population, expanding cities, disappearing forests and shrinking natural habitats in the last few decades have seen the emergence of a debate over development that is also sustainable.

So, sustainable development is now a major pillar of international cooperation.


1. India's natural ecosystems are under stress.

a) 10% of it’s a wide life is threatened with extinction

b) Agricultural biodiversity has declined over 90% in many regions

c) Over half the available water bodies are polluted beyond drinking and often beyond even agricultural use.

d) Two-thirds of the land is degraded to sub-optimal productivity

e) Air pollution in several cities is amongst the world's worst

2. Modern wastes including electronic and chemical wastes are being produced at rates far exceeding our capacity to recycle or manage.

3. Development has to be sustainable.

a) Otherwise, it just becomes uni centered or linear growth.

b) linear growth always has damages for the environment and damages for the people who are associated with it.

c) Growth is no longer the economic growth per se. It is linked to concerns of environment, inclusive growth, concerns of passing down the value to all the people living at the base of the pyramid.

4. India’s progress in achieving these goals a crucial for the world as it is home to about 17 percent of the world's population.

Which are the measures taken in India to achieve SDGs?

In order to fulfill the SDG agenda, the government launched many programs focused on eliminating poverty gender inequality, climate change and resource mobilization for SDGs.

1. The idea of “Sabka Saath, Saab Vikas” implies the essence of the SDGs of leaving no one behind.

2. For clean fuel, it has introduced BS 6 petrol and diesel.  It will be first implemented in Delhi.

3. The Supreme Court has also ruled that BS for vehicles will not be sold after March 31st, 2020, when BS 6 norm for cleaner fuel comes into force.

4. In line with the theme of the World Environment Day- “beat plastic pollution”, Prime Minister has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022 with an immediate ban in urban Delhi.

5. Under ISA initiative, India aims to deploy over thousand gigawatts of solar energy and mobilize more than thousand billion US dollar into solar power by 2030, thereby accelerating the large-scale deployment of solar energy in developing countries to meet soaring energy demand and help fight climate change.

6. India has already made remarkable strides in the eradication of polio and the elimination of neonatal tetanus.

7. Further progress on key health indicators such as infant and maternal mortality rates as well as a reduction in the incidence of HIV TB and malaria, helped India meet the Millennium Development Goals on health.

8. India also investing significant resources towards ending open defecation by 2019 through the Swacch Bharat program.

Who have performed well?

1. The SDG India Index evaluated progress of the states in social, economic and environmental terms.

2. It aims to promote healthy competition among States and Union Territories.

3. Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have emerged as the top-performing states in the country with a score of 69 on the SDG India Index released by the NITI Aayog and the United Nations.

4. On zero hunger parameters Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland were the top performers.

5. Among the Union Territories Chandigarh took the lead with 68 points because of its exemplary performance in providing clean water and sanitation to people.

6. According to the SDG India index, the nation as a whole has a score of 58 with this the country has managed to cross the halfway mark in meeting the sustainable development goals.

Where the focus should be?

1. The SDGs are mirrored in our national development agenda.

2. All the goals are equally important for us and this can be achieved only by active cooperation and active work by the states and union territories.

3. Because the benefits of the services and the outcomes have to be measured at the state level and below the state level.

4. Not all states have managed to achieve sustainable development goals. Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are at the bottom of the SDG index.

5. States falling in the range of 0 to 49 have been categorized as aspirants and these are the states where a lot of focus needs to be done.

6. A lot of focus especially on certain goals like health, gender equality, energy, sustainable cities and urbanization, industrial growth is needed.