Kerala tops SDG India Index; India's overall score goes up by six points
NITI Aayog Vice-Chairperson Rajiv Kumar (second from right) launching the 'SDG India Index and Dashboard 2020–21' in New Delhi on June 3, 2021. NITI Aayog Member Vinod Paul (extreme right), CEO Amitabh Kant (2nd from left) and Adviser (SDGs) Sanyukta Samaddar (extreme left) are also seen.

Kerala tops SDG India Index; India's overall score goes up by six points

New Delhi, June 5, 2021

Kerala remained at the top for the third year with a score of 75 in the third edition of the SDG India Index released here on Thursday by the NITI Aayog.

Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh stood in the second place with 72 each.

At the bottom of the rankings were Bihar, with a score of 52, Jharkhand (56) and Assam (57).

India’s overall Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) improved by six points, from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2020–21 mainly due to exemplary countrywide performance in Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), with a composite Goal score at 83 and 92, respectively, according to NITI Aayog, the Government’s public policy think tank.

Since its inaugural launch in 2018, the index has been comprehensively documenting and ranking the progress made by States and Union Territories towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mizoram, Haryana, and Uttarakhand are the top gainers in 2020–21 in terms of improvement in score from 2019, with an increase of 12, 10 and 8 points, respectively.

Now in its third year, the index has become the primary tool for monitoring progress on the SDGs in the country and has simultaneously fostered competition among the States and Union Territories.

NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Rajiv Kumar launched the report titled ‘SDG India Index and Dashboard 2020–21: Partnerships in the Decade of Action. Vinod Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog and Sanyukta Samaddar, Adviser (SDGs), NITI Aayog were present at the release.

Designed and developed by NITI Aayog, the preparation of the index followed extensive consultations with the primary stakeholders—the States and Union Territories; the UN agencies led by the United Nations in India; Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), and the key Union Ministries.

“Our effort of monitoring SDGs through the SDG India Index & Dashboard continues to be widely noticed and applauded around the world. It remains a rare data-driven initiative to rank our States and Union Territories by computing a composite index on the SDGs. We are confident that it will remain a matter of aspiration and emulation and help propel monitoring efforts at the international level,” Kumar said during the launch.

“With one-third of the journey towards achieving the 2030 Agenda behind us, this edition of the index report focuses on the significance of partnerships as its theme,” Kant said. “The report reflects on the partnerships we have built and strengthened during our SDG efforts. The narrative throws light on how collaborative initiatives can result in better outcomes and greater impact,” he added.

On the theme of partnerships which is central to Goal 17, Paul said, “It is clear that by working together we can build a more resilient and sustainable future, where no one is left behind.”

“From covering 13 Goals with 62 indicators in its first edition in 2018, the third edition covers 16 Goals on 115 quantitative indicators, with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17, thereby reflecting our continuous efforts towards refining this important tool,” Samaddar said.

NITI Aayog has the twin mandate to oversee the adoption and monitoring of the SDGs in the country and to promote competitive and cooperative federalism among States and UTs. The index represents the articulation of the comprehensive nature of the Global Goals under the 2030 Agenda while being attuned to the national priorities, an official press release said.

The modular nature of the index has become a policy tool and a ready reckoner for gauging the progress of States and UTs on the expansive nature of the Goals, including health, education, gender, economic growth, institutions, climate change and environment, it said.

The SDG India Index 2020–21 tracks the progress of all States and UTs on 115 indicators that are aligned to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s National Indicator Framework (NIF). The initiative to refine and improve this important tool with each edition has been steered by the need to continuously benchmark performance and measure progress and to account for the availability of the latest SDG-related data on States and UTs.

The process of selecting these indicators included multiple consultations with Union Ministries. Feedback was sought from all States and UTs and as the essential stakeholder and audience of this localisation tool, they played a crucial role in shaping the index by enriching the feedback process with localised insights and experience from the ground.

The SDG India Index 2020–21 is more robust than the previous editions on account of wider coverage of targets and indicators with greater alignment with the NIF. The 115 indicators incorporate 16 out of 17 SDGs, with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17 and cover 70 SDG targets.

This is an improvement over the 2018–19 and 2019–20 editions of the index, which had utilised 62 indicators across 39 targets and 13 Goals, and 100 indicators across 54 targets and 16 Goals, respectively.

The SDG India Index computes goal-wise scores on the 16 SDGs for each State and Union Territory. Overall State and UT scores are generated from goal-wise scores to measure the aggregate performance of the sub-national unit based on its performance across the 16 SDGs. These scores range between 0–100 and if a State/UT achieves a score of 100, it signifies it has achieved the 2030 targets. The higher the score of a State/UT, the greater the distance to target achieved.

Based on their SDG India Index score States and Union Territories are classified as Aspirant (0–49), Performer (50–64), Front-runner (65–99) and Achiever (100).

A section of the SDG India Index report is dedicated to all the 36 States and UTs. These profiles will be very useful for policymakers, scholars and the general public, to analyse the performance on the 115 indicators across all Goals, the release said.

It is followed by a section on the progress of SDG localisation. It provides an update on the institutional structures, SDG vision documents, State and District Indicator Frameworks and other initiatives taken by the State and UT governments.

The SDG India Index 2020–21 is also live on an online dashboard, which has cross-sectoral relevance across policy, civil society, business, and academia. The index is designed to function as a tool for focused policy dialogue, formulation and implementation through development actions pegged to the globally recognisable metric of the SDG framework.

The index and dashboard will also facilitate in identifying crucial gaps related to tracking the SDGs and the need for India to develop its statistical systems at the State/UT levels. As another milestone in the SDG localisation journey of the country, the Index is being adapted and developed by NITI Aayog at the granular level of districts for the upcoming North Eastern Region District SDG Index.

NITI Aayog has the mandate for coordinating the adoption and monitoring of SDGs at the national and sub-national levels. The SDG India Index and Dashboard represent NITI Aayog’s efforts in encouraging evidence-based policymaking by supporting States and UTs to benchmark their progress, identify the priority areas and share good practices, the release added.


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