Kerala tops SDG India index, yet again

Even if an ‘achiever’ top score of 100 appears a formidable task in the quest for Sustainable Development Goals 2030, Kerala yet again bagged the No.1 slot among ‘front runner’ states bettering its score from 70 in 2019 to 75 in 2020. Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are number two, Chandigarh claimed the top slot among UTs with a score of 79, which is an increase over its 2019 score of 70.

Encouragingly, the report showed that in 2019-20, 10 states and UTs belonged to the category of ‘front runners’, but now12 more -- Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Punjab, Haryana, Tripura, Delhi, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have graduated from ‘performers’ to join this category.

At the bottom of the list is Bihar with a score of (52) followed by Jharkhand (56) and Assam (57). However, compared to 2019 all these states have improved their scores by a few points remaining in the ‘performer’ category on a score index that classifies states based on their performance on goals as aspirant (0-49); performer (50-64); front-runners (65-99) and achiever with a full 100.

In fast moving states (scorewise), top gainers are Mizoram(68), Haryana (67), and Uttarakhand (72) in 2020–21 with improvements of 12,10 and 8 points from 2019, respectively.

According to the SDG India Index report 2020-21, India’s overall score is up from 60 in 2019 to 66 and no state figures on the overall score among aspirants for the second year. The impressive performance of states on targets linked to “clean water and sanitation” and “affordable and clean energy” delivering an overall score of 83 and 92 respectively are being cited as key drivers that have helped enhance India’s overall score on the SDG Index by six points.

Adding to this score is the performance on six goals including good health and well-being, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life on land and peace, justice and strong institutions, where the overall score for each goal is over 65.

However, there are problem areas that need urgent attention. On two goals - “zero hunger” (goal 2) and “gender equality” (goal 5), the India score is a matter of concern at it is 47 and 48 respectively. This is the status even as nine states in goal 2 and 12 states in goal 5 have moved out of the aspirant category in 2020-21 as compared to 2019-20. In 2019 the score was even worse at 35 and 42, respectively.

The report highlights the impact of schemes, policy measures taken and the challenges for each goal based on available data along with the scores for assigned indicator for the states.

Interestingly, while goal 6 (clean water and sanitation) has the highest number of ‘front runners’ with 25 states in this category, goals 5 (gender equality) and goal 9 (industry innovation and infrastructure) have the highest ‘aspirants’ with 14 states each having a score less than 50.

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