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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : India, its SDG pledge goal, and the strategy to apply       


Source: The Hindu


  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, SDG, covid-19, G20, G7, etc.
  • Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests, Significance of G20 countries etc



  • The Prime Minister addressed the first meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under India’s G20 Presidency(held on February 24-25, 2023).
    • He expressed concern that “progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) seems to be slowing down”.

Current Affairs




Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs):

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
  • A universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
  • It is a set of 17 SDGs which recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others and that development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
  • Countries have committed to prioritizing progress for those who are furthest behind.
  • The SDGs are designed to end poverty, hunger, AIDS, and discrimination against women.
  • The SDGs framework sets targets for 231 unique indicators across 17 SDG goals related to economic development, social welfare and environmental sustainability, to be met by 2030.


India’s progress(On 33 welfare indicators, covering nine SDGs):

  • India is ‘On-Target’ to meeting 14 of the 33 SDGs, including indicators for:
    • neonatal and under-five mortality
    • full vaccination
    • improved sanitation
    • electricity access
    • They have substantially improved in the last five years.
  • The national ‘On-Target’ designation does not apply equally across all districts.
    • Neonatal and under-five mortality are currently both ‘On-Target’ for the country, 286 and 208 districts (out of 707 districts), respectively, are not.
  • Significant progress on access to improved sanitation excludes 129 districts that are not on course to meet this SDG indicator.
  • Indicators such as eliminating adolescent pregnancy, reducing multidimensional poverty, and women having bank accounts have improved across a vast majority of the districts between the years 2016 and 2021.
  • 19 of the 33 SDG indicators, the current pace of improvement is not enough to meet SDG targets.
    • Despite a national policy push for clean fuel for cooking, more than two-thirds (479) of districts remain ‘Off-Target’.
  • Some 415 and 278 districts are ‘Off-Target’ for improved water and handwashing facilities,


Major concerns regarding women:

  • No district in India has yet succeeded in eliminating the practice of girl child marriage before the legal age of 18 years.
    • At the current pace, more than three-fourths (539) of districts will not be able to reduce the prevalence of girl child marriage to the SDG target of 5(zero point five)% by 2030.
  • Critical and related indicators such as teenage pregnancy (15-19 years) and partner violence (physical and sexual) continues.
  • Despite the overall expansion of mobile phone access in India (93% of households), only 56% women report owning a mobile phone, with 567 districts remaining ‘Off-Target’


Lessons from the COVID-19 approach:

  • Designing and implementing a policy response to a pressing issue is best viewed as an “optimisation problem” relying on political will, responsive administration, adequate resources, and sound data.
  • India adopted an “optimisation” approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and thus, it was given the focus and resources necessary to succeed.
  • Strong and sustained political leadership supported by a responsive administrative structure at all levels, from national to the district level.
    • It was critical to the success of both India’s COVID-19 vaccination programme and its efficient rollout of a comprehensive relief package.
  • The political-administrative synergy was willing to learn and undertake course corrections in real-time.
  • The existing digital infrastructure, as well as new, indigenous initiatives such as the Co-WIN data platform, and the Aarogya Setu application.
    • Following these examples, India must put in place a coordinated, public data platform for population health management
    • By consolidating its many siloed platforms into an integrated digital resource for district administrators, as well as State and national policy makers.
  • Targeted SDG strategy delivered at scale must be executed with the same timeliness of India’s COVID-19 relief package.
    • The ₹1.70 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, later augmented to nearly ₹6.29 lakh crore
      • It was a mix of spending to provide direct in-kind and economic support
      • Measures aimed at revitalizing the economy, small businesses, and agriculture.
      • This was critical in blunting the adverse effects of COVID-19, especially for vulnerable and the socio-economically disadvantaged groups.
      • It measurably demonstrated the value of a proactive, government-supported programme specifically aimed at improving people’s well-being.


Way Forward

  • Regardless of the global progress that has been made to date, the sheer population size of India means that realizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a global scale is intrinsically tied to the success of India.
    • There is considerable confidence in India becoming the third largest economy in the world over the next decade.
  • Creating a mission-oriented ethos that is assessment-oriented and which provides adequate support for accomplishing India’s district-level SDGs is now urgently needed.
  • India needs to innovate a new policy path in order to meet the aspirations of its people in the decade ahead
  • In successfully delivering a real-time response to the COVID-19 pandemic, India has proved that it is possible to deliver at scale in such an ambitious and comprehensive manner.
    • To succeed in meeting its SDG targets, especially those related to population health and well-being, basic quality infrastructure, and gender equality, a similar concerted, pioneering, nation-wide effort would be the need of the hour.



Reforming the government delivery system through the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme is a progressive step, but it has its limitations too. Comment.(UPSC 2022) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)