New Delhi, March 25, 2023: In the past five years, India’s overall global rank in meeting the SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals – has slipped by nine places. In 2022, it stood at the 121st position, behind Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh; Pakistan was lagging close behind at 125.
Why is India in this predicament with the deadline on most of the Goals looming on the horizon in 2030? According to an analysis in the State of India’s Environment 2023 (SoE), released on March 23, the primary reason is the challenges that India is facing in 11 of the 17 SDGs.
The SoE is published every year by Down To Earth, the fortnightly magazine that Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) helps bring out. The 2023 report covers an extensive gamut of subject assessments, ranging from climate change, agriculture and industry to water, plastics, forests and biodiversity.
The report has analysed the performance of individual states as well. Says Richard Mahapatra, managing editor of Down To Earth and one of the editors of the SoE: “An alarmingly high number of states have slipped in their performance of SDGs 4, 8, 9, 10 and 15.” These numbers refer to the Goals on quality education; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; and life on land, respectively.
In SDG 4 (quality education), for instance, 17 states saw a dip in their performance between 2019 and 2020. SDG 15 – life on land – has 25 states performing below average. The goal on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) has become more distant for 15 states, while 22 states are slipping in SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth).
Concurrently, there has been improvement by states as well in a number of goals – SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 5 (gender equality), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and 12 (responsible consumption and production).
Says Mahapatra, “All the data that we are using here is from credible, and in many cases, from the government’s own sources.” Down To Earth’s research team says that India’s ranking has been taken from the SDG Index and Dashboards Report 2022 by Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the time period 2017-2022. The state-level ranking is based on the Niti Aayog’s SDG India Index Report 2020-21 – here the team has analysed the 2020 and 2019 scores.
For detailed statistics on the subject of states and their progress on SDGs, refer to the report’s first section – State of Development.
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