Kerala and Chandigarh retained their top position in Niti Aayog’s sustainable development goals (SDG) index for states and Union territories, respectively, while Bihar was placed last in the rankings released by the government think-tank on Thursday.
Overall, India’s score in the index – which evaluates how the country and its regions have been performing on social, economic and environmental parameters – improved by six points, suggesting slight progress. “The composite score for India improved, from 60 in 2019-20 to 66 in 2020-21. This indicates that the country overall has progressed forward in its journey towards achieving the SDGs,” the report titled SDG India Index 2020-21 said.
In 2015, all members of the United Nations adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, at the heart of which were 17 SDGs (and a further 169 targets). This, the third edition of the India-specific study that tracks progress on all 17 goals, and on 70 targets; the second edition covered 17 goals and 54 targets while the first, covered 13 goals and 39 targets.
“Kerala retained its rank as the top state with a score of 75. Chandigarh too maintained its top spot among the UTs with a score of 79,” the report, which was the third instalment of the index, said.
Among UTs, Delhi was ranked second, with a score of 68, up from last year’s 61.
Bihar’s score was the lowest at 52 points, and the other worst performers were Assam (57) and Jharkhand (56). Although the three states made some advances, they have continued to be among the lowest performers since the rankings began in 2018-2019.
Tamil Nadu (74) and Himachal Pradesh (74) took the second spot, seeing an improvement from their previous scores of 67 and 69, respectively. Goa, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were ranked fourth on the list, with all remaining among the top ten performers.
Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar, who presented the report on Thursday, said that the index encourages efforts to reach SDG goals. “Our effort of monitoring SDGs through the SDG India Index & Dashboard continues to be widely noticed and applauded around the world… We are confident that it will remain a matter of aspiration and emulation and help propel monitoring efforts at the international level,” he said.
“The report reflects on the partnerships we have built and strengthened during our SDG efforts. The narrative throws light on how collaborative initiatives can result in better outcomes and greater impacts,” Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant added.
The report noted there has been considerable improvement in scores. The range for states has improved from between 50 and 70 to 52 to 75 . Similarly for the UTs, the previous range of scores was 59 and 70, which has now improved to 62-79.
According to the index, India has seen progress in nine parameters: health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life on land, and peace, justice and strong institutions. The two areas where the country needs to focus on are eradicating hunger and gender equality, the report added.