SDGs – miles to go before we sleep

Indian economy

Recently, the government published the progress report on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The “Sustainable Development Goals – National Indicator Framework Progress Report, 2021 highlights the progress made so far by India in attaining SDGs.

The SDGs are a comprehensive list of global goals integrating social, economic, and environmental dimensions of development. These goals lay the blueprint for achieving a better and sustainable future for all by providing “an international framework to move by 2030 towards more equitable, peaceful, resilient, and prosperous societies – while living within sustainable planetary boundaries”. United Nations General Assembly adopted the document titled “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and associated 169 targets, in September 2015. This agenda came into force in January 2016.

India is committed to implementing the SDGs based on the nationally defined indicators responding to national priorities and needs. A National Indicator Framework (NIF) has been developed in 2018 consisting of 306 national indicators along with identified data sources. NIF facilitates the monitoring of SDGs at the national level and provides appropriate direction to the policymakers and the implementing agencies of various schemes and programs. Besides NIF, guidelines have been provided to the States for developing a comprehensive and inclusive SDG Monitoring Framework through the development of the State Indicator Framework (SIF).

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are—

1.    No Poverty

2.    Zero Hunger

3.    Good Health and Well Being

4.    Quality Education

5.    Gender Equality

6.    Clean Water and Sanitation

7.    Affordable and Clean Energy

8.    Decent Work and Economic growth

9.    Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

10.  Reduces Inequalities

11.  Sustainable Cities and Communities

12.  Responsible Consumption and production

13.  Climate Action

14.  Life Below Water

15.  Life on Land

16.  Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

17.  Partnerships for the Goals

On juxtaposing these goals to the government schemes and programs announced by the Central Government in past five years, it becomes clear that the commitment to SDGs is a major driver of development policy function in India.

All the signatures schemes like clean energy (LPG to poor household, bio-energy, and solar), Sanitation (toilets and piped water in every house), financial inclusion (Jan Dhan Account, pension, UBI), Agri productivity, and income (doubling of farmers;’ income, new farm laws), health mission, Quality Education (New Education Policy and Institutions of Excellence), Gender equality (Triple Talaq law, women directors, etc.) Innovation & productivity (startup India, make in India) Sustainable cities (smart cities, metro rail), etc. could be traced back to SDGs commitment.

As per the latest Progress Report, India has made significant progress in some areas, while challenges remain in some other areas. While the citizen can themselves see and feel the areas where significant progress has been made, it is pertinent to note the areas that are lacking. These are the areas that may hold both opportunities and challenges. Some of these are as follows, for example—

(i)    In FY20, 50.66% of the population was getting safe and adequate drinking water through pipes.

(iii)  0.15% population was homeless in 2011. Present data is not available.

(iii)  At the end of FY20, the number of telephone subscribers was 88.74% of the population. It is down from 93.27 in FY18.

(iv)   100% rural population had access to toilet facilities at the end of FY20.

(v)    The proportion of total government spending on essential services 9education, health, and social protection) has come down from 29.87% (FY16) to 29.47% in FY19.

(vi)   The proportion of budget marked for gender budget is down from 5.58% in FY18 to 4.4% in FY22.

(vii)  Proportion of beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act has come down from 99.01% in FY17 to 97.57% in FY21.

(viii) Gross value added in agriculture per worker has increased from Rs61427 (FY16) to Rs74822 in FY20.

(ix)   Percentage share of expenditure on R&D in agriculture has fallen from 0.44% in FY16 to 0.037% in FY19.

(x)    Net enrollment ratio in primary and upper primary education has fallen from 94.11% and 72.02% respectively in FY16 to 89.14% and 68.99% respectively in FY19.

(xi)   Only 32.66% of schools have computers for teaching purposes in FY19.

(xii)  Proportion of crime against women to total crimes has risen from 6.99% in 2015 to 7.87% in 2019. 28.1 women per lac faced sexual crime in 2019 (22.2 per lac in 2015). The number of women facing cruelty by husband has also increased from 18.78 per lac to 19.54 per lac. There is no reduction in sexual crimes against girl children.

(xiii) Per capita availability of water has reduced from 1508m3 in 2015 to 1486m3 in 2021.

(xiv) Percentage of households using clean cooking fuel is reported to be 102.11 in FY20 (???). In FY21 it was 99.97%.

(xv)  Renewable energy share in the total installed electricity generation has increased from 13.4% in FY16 to 19.2% in FY19.

(xvi) Annual growth rate of GDP has declined consistently since FY17. The annual growth rate in the manufacturing sector has also declined consistently.

(xvii) Percentage of credit flow to MSME as a percentage of Total Adjusted Net Bank Credit has declined from 18.18% in FY16 to 16.39% in FY20.

(xviii) In FY16 2 states had a Good coastal water quality index and 7 states were moderate. In FY21 no state has good coastal water quality, all 9 states are moderate.

Author: Midas Finserve

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