Sustainable Development Goals

India and SDGs

         India has been strongly committed to the holistic implementation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. Our honorable PM Narender Modi highlighted that these goals are “a part and parcel of the country’s longstanding tradition and heritage”. India is on a trajectory of meeting ambitious targets in areas of economic progress, inclusion and sustainability. Both, State and Central governments play an equally important role in meeting the socio-economic parameters in order to achieve these goals. SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. The entire gamut of SDGs focusses on five Ps – Planet, People, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.


Afforestation was the most important agenda for saving the planet from Climate Change. India has given itself a target of achieving 33 percent forest cover to ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of the terrestrial ecosystem. Several schemes like the “National Afforestation Program” (NAP) and the “National Mission for a Green India” (GIM) played an extensive role by spreading mass awareness among people. States like Assam, Manipur, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand have been the achievers but Haryana, Bihar, UP and Puducherry have been the laggards. The total coverage has been 21.54% till 2018. On the other hand, a recent report published by Global Forest Watch said that Karnataka has lost more than 3,000 hectares of primary forests every year between 2016 and 2018. A similar trend was seen in Kerala. This highlights the need for more groundwork that needs to be done. Nonprofit and civil society organizations could play an important role here.   


Another Indicator is door to door waste collection for making cities more sustainable. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in its later stages also focused on segregation of waste. India Collects almost 73.58 % of its waste. According to a study only 24.8 of waste is processed. India has witnessed an upsurge in tourists, both domestic and international. This also highlights the importance of making our tourism industry more sustainable. Himalayan region needs special infrastructural assistance to manage the influx of tourist as well as waste generated during the peak seson


India has seen a decline in poverty across all socio-economic and religious groups. Sustained growth led to employment generation thereby directly empowering the poor. National programs like MNREGA has generated over 2 billion person-days of employment during 2016-17 alone, largely for the disadvantaged sections of society. Several financial schemes have been launched for poor household to achieve the goal of housing for all by 2022. Right to education and PDS (Public Distribution System) have led people in rural India to have access to the necessities of education and food. Almost 72% of Indian households have access to safe and adequate drinking water and almost 83% have access to toilets in rural areas. However, India needs to catch up on food and hunger index. Through schemes like PDS (Public Distribution System) covers almost 800 million people by providing affordable food. Mid-Day-Meal scheme provides nutritious meals to 100 million children in primary schools. Still according to the global Nutrition Report 2018, India tops the list of countries followed by Nigeria and Pakistan, with 46.6 million children stunted.


Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is one of the biggest financial inclusion initiatives in the world. The total number of beneficiaries stood at 37.55 Cr till Nov’19. Out of these 22.05 Cr are from rural/semi-urban centers and 20.02 Cr are the rural-urban female beneficiaries. PMJDY made it to Guinness Book of World Records for opening most bank accounts in one week as a part of financial inclusion campaign. The number stood at 18,096,130 from 23rd to 29th Aug’14.

Programs like Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana which provides clean cooking fuel connections to BPL families and Namami Gange which had twin objective of abatement of pollution and conservation and rejuvenation of Ganga, the sacred river, are two programs that focused on bringing prosperity and hence peace to Indian families. Where the PMUY was a great success, Namami Gange is yet to show the impact of INR 22,000 Cr that have been spent on it so far. Despite several audit committees at state and central level, this flagship program of Modi government is yet far from achieving its stated goals.

An index developed by UK-based Equal Measures 2030 as a joint effort of regional and global organizations ranked India at 95 among 129 countries with India’s highest goal scores are on SDG 3 of health (79.9), SDG 2 of hunger and nutrition (76.2) and SDG 7 of energy (71.8). However, India scored lowest on SDG 17 of partnerships (18.3, in the bottom 10 countries worldwide on the goal), SDG 9 of industry, infrastructure and innovation (38.1) and SDG 13 of climate (43.4). This highlights the importance of partnership and collaborations between government, private sector and civil societies for achieving Agena2030. The partnerships need to be built upon principles and values, a shared vision and goals that place people and the planet at the center, are needed at the global, regional, national and local level.