SDG India Index: concept, significance, and 2020-21 report highlights

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The SDG India Index is a “rare data-driven initiative

Ground Report | New Delhi: The NITI Aayog, Thursday, released the 3rd edition of the SDG India Index and Dashboard 2020-21. The index, first launched in 2018, extensively documents and ranks progress made by Indian states and UTs towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Some parameters of measuring development include health, education, gender, economic growth, climate change, etc. The index has not only become the primary tool for evaluating progress on the SDGs in India but has also fostered competitive federalism. It is the world’s first government-led sub-national measure of SDG progress.

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This edition covers 16 Goals on 115 indicators with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17 with special emphasis on the role of partnerships in achieving SDGs. The states/UTs are scored from 0-100 based on their performance across the 16 SDGs. The higher the score, the better the performance. The scores are also used to classify states/UTs into 4 categories. 0-49 points put a state/UT in the aspirant category, between 50-64 is performer while 65-99 makes one a front runner. A state or UT with a perfect score of 100 is an achiever. Currently, no Indian states/UTs are in the aspirant or achiever categories.

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The SDG India Index is a “rare data-driven initiative”, said NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar. It remains significant as a tool for focused policy dialogue, formulation, and implementation aligned with global SDG framework. It also helps in identifying gaps related to tracking SDGs and highlights the need for statistical analysis in India.

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This year, Kerala retained its top spot with a score of 75. Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu tied for a close second with a score of 74 each. Mizoram, Haryana, and Uttarakhand were the fastest progressing states gaining 12, 10, and 8 points (since last year), respectively. Bihar, Jharkhand, and Assam were the worst-performing states with 52, 56, and 57 points respectively.

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India’s overall SDG score increased from 60 points in 2019-20 to 66 points in 2020-21. The country showed exceptional overall performance in providing clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) and affordable and clean energy (SDG 7).

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