17 Jan 2020

Sustainable Development Goals Index

Our previous article on same topic

Source: The Hindu

Manifest pedagogy: Sustainable Development Goals are an important tool to gauge performance of India vis a vis other countries. This is also important considering the agenda for sustainable and more inclusive growth in India. It is a keystone in the socio economic development agenda in the post reform period with MDG’s forming its backbone.

In news: Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and rank list has been released

Placing it in syllabus: Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 

Static dimensions:

  • SDGs
  • Timeline 

Current dimensions:

  • SDG rankings
  • Role of niti aayog
  • India and SDGs



The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define global sustainable development priorities and aspirations for 2030 and seek to mobilize global efforts around a common set of goals and targets. They call for worldwide action among governments, business and civil society to end poverty and create a life of dignity and opportunity for all. The SDGs succeeded Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The 17 SDGs are:

  • End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Good Health and Well-being
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • Reducing Inequality
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action
  • Life Below Water
  • Life On Land
  • Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • Global partnership for sustainable development

Establishing SDGs was an outcome of the Rio+20 summit held in 2012.


  • In June 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, more than 178 countries adopted Agenda 21, a comprehensive plan of action to build a global partnership for sustainable development.
  • In September 2000 in New York, member states unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration and eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.
  • At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012, Member States adopted the outcome document “The Future We Want”.


  • The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio 2012/ Rio+20/Earth Summit 2012 was the third international conference on sustainable development aimed at reconciling the economic and environmental goals of the global community.
  • Hosted by Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Rio+20 was a 20-year follow-up to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg.
  • They decided to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to build upon the MDGs and to establish the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
  • The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) was set up in 2012 which mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development and the implementation of SDGs.
  • In January 2015, the General Assembly began the negotiation process on the post-2015 development agenda.
  • The process culminated in the subsequent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 SDGs at its core, at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015.

SDG rankings:

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Bertelsmann Stiftung have published the Sustainable Development Report 2019.

The SDR 2019 has generated seven major findings:

  1. High-level political commitment to the SDGs is falling short of historic promises.
  2. SDG implementation can be organized along the following transformations: 1) Education, Gender, and Inequality; 2) Health, Wellbeing, and Demography; 3) Energy Decarbonization and Sustainable Industry; 4) Sustainable Food, Land, Water, Oceans; 5) Sustainable Cities and Communities; 6) Digital Revolution for Sustainable Development. 
  3. Trends on climate (SDG 13) and biodiversity (SDG 14 and SDG 15) are alarming.
  4. Sustainable land-use and healthy diets require integrated agriculture, climate and health policy interventions.
  5. High-income countries are generating high environmental and socio-economic spillover effects
  6. Human rights and freedom of speech are in danger in numerous countries.
  7. Eradicating poverty and strengthening equity remain important policy priorities.

Top scorers in SDG Index: Denmark (85.2), Sweden (85) 

Bottom scorers: Central African Republic (CAR), Chad

India is ranked 115 with score 61.1.

SDG performance of India

Role of NITI aayog:

  • India is committed to achieve the 17 SDGs and the 169 associated targets, which comprehensively cover social, economic and environmental dimensions of development.
  • At the Central Government level, NITI Aayog has been assigned the role of overseeing the implementation of SDGs in the country. 
  • NITI Aayog has organized several national and regional level consultations to bring together stakeholders and build capacities for the realization of SDGs.
  • The NITI Aayog releases the Baseline Report of the SDG India Index, which comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets. 
  • It has constructed the SDG India Index spanning across 13 out of 17 SDGs (leaving out Goals 12, 13, 14 and 17).
  • The Index tracks the progress on a set of National Indicators, measuring their progress on the outcomes of the interventions and schemes of the Government of India.

India and SDGs:

NITI Aayog recently released the SDG India Index, 2019. It has given India a composite score of 60 points, (was 57 in 2018) mainly for progress in clean energy and sanitation (88), peace, justice and strong institutions (72) and affordable and clean energy (70). 

Out of 232 indicators developed by the UN to measure compliance on the part of member nations Niti Aayog has adapted its monitoring approach to a set of 100 indicators.


  • Kerala has topped the chart with a score of 70.
  • Himachal Pradesh has taken the second spot while Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have shared the third spot.
  • Bihar, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh are the worst performing states.
  • Among UTs Chandigarh maintained its top spot with a score of 70.
  • In 2018, three states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were placed in the category of Front Runners (with a score in the range 65-99). In 2019, five more states have joined this league – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Sikkim and Goa (in total eight).
  • With regard to poverty reduction, states which have done well include Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim.
  • On ‘zero hunger’ parameters, Goa, Mizoram, Kerala, Nagaland and Manipur were the front runners.
  • Ending hunger and achieving gender equality are the areas where most states fall far short and all-India scores for these goals are 35 and 42 points respectively. 
  • On levels of hunger and nutrition, 22 of the states and UTs have scored below 50, with the central Indian states of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh scoring below 30.
  • On gender equality, almost all states have fared poorly except Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala who have managed to cross 50 points.
  • Related to clean water and sanitation SDG all states and union territories except for Delhi have scored above 65.