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NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar with CEO Amitabh Kant release the SDG India index on Monday. The report showed that India’s composite score improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019. (PTI )
NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar with CEO Amitabh Kant release the SDG India index on Monday. The report showed that India’s composite score improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019. (PTI )

Kerala tops sustainable development goals index

  • The report showed that India’s composite score improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019 with major success in water and sanitation, industry and innovation
  • Among Union territories, Chandigarh maintained its top spot with a score of 70

NEW DELHI : Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana were top performers in the race to achieve sustainable development goals (SDG), including the eradication of poverty and inequality, while Bihar, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have a lot to catch up, according to the SDG India index brought out by NITI Aayog and the United Nations.

The report released in the capital on Monday showed that Kerala retained its rank as the top state with a score of 70. A score of 100 would mean the state has achieved the SDG goals, which are to be met by 2030. Himachal Pradesh took the second spot, while Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana shared the third spot, according to the report, the second in a series.

Among Union territories, Chandigarh maintained its top spot with a score of 70. The score is computed based on performance across several parameters, including the quality of education, gender equality, zero-hunger, climate action and reduction in inequalities.

The report showed that states have made “notable improvement" from the first report brought out a year ago. Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim have shown maximum improvement, but states such as Gujarat have not shown any progress vis-a-vis their 2018 rankings.

NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar told reporters at the release of the index that none of the states were below 50—the half-way mark towards achieving the goals—which was a very good sign and that eight states were front runners. He said SDGs were now driving the country’s development agenda.

“Still there is a long way to go and there is no room for any complacency at all," said Kumar, adding that the federal policy think tank was working with states in training people and monitoring SDG-related work.

“Our hope is that each state will take it seriously and launch similar competition among districts and then to block levels. Unless we drive SDG work to the local level, we will not be able to sustain the achievement," said Kumar.

Kumar said southern states have done well in health and that the Modi government will not leave any stone unturned to make sure India achieves its SDG goals. The report showed that India’s composite score improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019 with major success in water and sanitation, industry and innovation. However, nutrition and gender continued to be problem areas for India, requiring more focussed approach from the government. “The United Nations’ SDG target of 2030 can never be met without India," NITI Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant said.

India, with 17% of world population, holds the key to global SDG achievement. The way India addresses development challenges will be of key interest to agencies like the UN for use in economies at comparable stages of development.

“India has raised levels of prosperity for its people manifold in the recent past. However, challenges remain in many areas, including health, nutrition, basic infrastructure and quality of education, among others," the report said.

*PTI contributed to this story.

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