Realising the Sustainable Development Goals needs more than just programmes and policies. Discuss. (250 Words)

Mentors Comments:

1. Briefly discuss India’s position on SDG
2. What are the gaps
3. How to fulfill them

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing the world. The 17 SDGs are integrated—that is, they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

The NITI Aayog undertook the extensive exercise of measuring India and its States’ progress towards the SDGs for 2030, culminating in the development of the SDG India Index – Baseline Report 2018. It highlighted wide disparity among states. For instance, states like Bihar, Jharkhand, UP etc continue to perform poor on many indicators of SDG despite rolling out numerous schemes and policies.

Following are the major broad challenges which goes beyond merely announcing programmes and policies are as follows-
1. Defining Indicators:
 Past record indicates that we have been not very successful in setting relevant indicators to measure outcomes. For instance, Quality education has not successfully been defined.
 Similarly, India’s myopic definition of “safe” drinking water (with hand pumps and tube wells considered as safe as piped water supply) means that official data suggests 86% of Indians have access to safe drinking water and, as a result, we are “on track” for the MDG goal on drinking water.
 However, the number of waterborne diseases and deaths due to diarrhoea clearly indicate, this is not the case.

2. Financing SDGs:
 A new study estimates that implementing SDGs in India by 2030 will cost around US$14.4 billion. Given the recent cut in social sector schemes by the Union government, unless states devote a significant portion of their resources on the social sector, there is likely to be a significant funding gap.
 High growth and redistribution itself are also not enough. According to the United Nations MDG 2014 report, despite high economic growth, in 2010, one-third of the world’s 1.2 billion extreme poor lived in India alone.
 Given these constraints, it is likely that domestic revenues aside, private finance could be a crucial source for financing the SDGs.

3. Monitoring and Ownership: 
 Relatedly, a third significant challenge is going to be with respect to ownership. Reports suggest that NITI Aayog will play a significant role in tracking progress.
 However, members at the Aayog have expressed reservations on being able to take on this mammoth task. Moreover, if states are expected to play a pivotal role (giving the devolution post 14th Finance Commission), it will require ownership not just nationally, but also at the state and local level.

4. Measuring Progress: The most important is the question of measuring progress or achievement. By the government’s own admission, non-availability of data (particularly in respect to sub-national levels), periodicity issues and incomplete coverage of administrative data, made accurate measuring progress of even MDGs virtually

5. Obstacle in policymaking: India lacks credible data in the relevant fields. This could be a major obstacle in policymaking.

6. Cultural barriers: Practices such as a preference for male child, gender equality in education, open defecation are deep-rooted in the society and have cultural implications.

7. Limited Government Spending: India spends less than 1.5% on health and around 4% on education. This is far below the required levels.

8. Limited source of funding: There has been rising trends of nationalism and protectionism across the world. Hence, channeling of funds from developed countries to developing countries could be an issue.

Way Forward:
 SDGs provide broad goals and targets, it will be up to the national, and state governments to identify priorities, decide appropriate locally relevant policies, harness innovation and ensure that an implementation and monitoring plan is in place. It is also the responsibility of people, society, NGOs, media to help the government in achieving these only and contributing towards them.
 NGOs, CSOs can be a powerful tool in highlighting the plight of the vulnerable at the local as well as international level e.g. CRIES, Doctors without borders etc.
 Philanthropists, big corporate to leverage their CSR on socio-economic needs of the society for their inclusive and sustainable development e.g. Bill and Milanda Gates Foundation, WIPRO donations, cess, bringing more people under the bit of income tax and such revenue to be diverted to the fulfillment of SDGs.
 Experts in various fields’ e.g. medical, engineering, economy, law, finances etc. Need to collaborate for the formulation of policies, framework, and regulations etc. In a cost-effective manner.
 Efforts to give effect to international treaties such as GCF, Paris Agreement, Doha round of WTO etc.
 Increasing budgetary allocation for policies, plans aimed at achieving quality education, health, gender equality etc.

India’s National Development Agenda is mirrored in the SDGs, and its progress in SDGs is crucial for the world as the country is home to about 17 percent of the world population. The index has provided the exact picture of India or the current status of achievement in meeting the goals. The report will bring the needed changes at the grass root level which will help in achieving the SDGs.

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4 years ago

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1 year ago

Thank you for sharing this information moto x3m it was quite helpful to me.


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