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GS Paper 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their implementation.



It is widely agreed that India will play a leading role in determining the success or failure of the SDGs, given its disproportionate share in the global development burden. Clearly the commitment of the government of India to achieving the sustainable Development goals can be realised if actions at the national level are complimented by initiatives of the state governments and the Union Territories (UTs) given its federal governance structure where most of the functions that have a bearing on SDGs fall within the purview of the sub-national / state governments. Further, the focus of SDGs on equality, inclusion, justice and the core principle of “Leave No One Behind” makes the participation and contribution of states in the pursuit of SDGs an imperative.


Why localise implementation of SDGs?

The states of India reflect the enormous geographic and demographic diversity as well as socio-economic disparities. The SDG India Index prepared for the first time to rank the states and UTs, showed wide disparities across states and reiterates the importance of localised approaches.

Such disparities call for planning, budgeting, implementing and monitoring of development programmes at the sub-national level taking into account diverse economic, social and environmental factors. While the SDGs are global, their achievement will depend on the ability to make them a reality in constituent states, cities, districts and villages. Therefore, state governments have the prime responsibility in achieving SDGs and are essential stakeholders in implementing the Agenda 2030.


An ongoing process in three phases:

At Central level

  • NITI Aayog, the successor to the Planning Commission, has been entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating the SDGs among the central ministries and the state governments, and monitoring the progress.
  • Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) is responsible for the formulation of the National Indicator Framework (NIF) to monitor the SDGs.
  • Central/Federal Ministries and their schemes are mapped with SDGs and targets. The ministries are also responsible for providing data for the National Indicator Framework (NIF)
  • Comptroller and Audit General of India is the supreme Audit Institution of India and is responsible for conducting audit on the preparedness to achieve the SDGs.


At State level

  • Office of the Chief Secretary of the state – for guiding and overseeing work on SDG. The Chief Secretary is the chief advisor to the Chief Minister of the state and secretary to the state's cabinet. She/he is also the head of the state administration and therefore has an important role in advising the government and overseeing implementation of all programmes in the state.
  • Planning Department – for coordinating SDG implementation.
  • Directorate of economics and statistics, as the focal point for data, sectoral line ministries and training institutions.
  • Line departments to formulate, implement and monitor schemes and programmes that contribute to achieving SDGs.


At district level

  • At the district (sub-state) and local levels, elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions3 and Urban local Bodies, District administration and frontline functionaries are vital for action on SDGs.


Policy framework in States and UTs for SDGs

In India, states are constitutionally mandated to deliver on most of the socio-economic sectors that constitute the SDGs. It is therefore imperative to align their policy and strategy architecture to SDGs. Recognising the criticality of localising SDGs at the state level, NITI Aayog advocated with states to prepare state level Vision documents and SDG Action Plans aligned to SDGs. It also advised states to identify a nodal department for state level coordination and map existing government schemes with SDGs to identify gaps, if any.

As a result of the thrust from NITI Aayog and states’ own initiatives, all states and UTs are at various stages of preparation of their Vision documents, with 23 states and UTs having prepared their documents. The Vision documents reflect the states’ context and long-term priorities. Most states are taking a ‘whole-of-government approach’ and are in the process of aligning budgets to state specific SDG targets and setting up a mechanism for effective monitoring.



India has given its strong commitment to SDGs. Its key major developmental programmes, the strategies for a ‘New India’ by 2022, and the country’s vision for 2030 are aligned with the spirit of the SDGs. For instance, the flagship programmes of the government of India such as Poshan Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission), Aayushman Bharat (National Health Protection scheme), Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Care for the girl Child) and Aspirational Districts programme, just to name a few, directly address the challenges highlighted by sDgs. The International solar Alliance, co-founded by India, is an example of the country’s leadership in the global arena towards a sustainable future. The underlying principle of such programmes, articulated as ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’, mirror the essence of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable Development, to leave no one behind and encourage participation in country’s development.


Previous Year Questions

  1. The penetration of self-help groups (SHGs) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing sociocultural hurdles. Examine. (2014)
  2. Do government’s schemes for up-lifting vulnerable and backward communities by protecting required social resources for them, lead to their exclusion in establishing businesses in urban economies? (2014)
  3. Though there have been several different estimates of poverty in India, all indicate reduction in poverty over time. Do you agree? Critically examine with reference to urban and rural poverty indicators. (2015)
  4. Poverty alleviation programmes in India remain mere showpieces until and unless they are backed up by political will.” Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation programmes in India. (2017)
  5. The Central Government frequently complains on the poor performance of the State Governments in eradicating suffering of the vulnerable sections of the society. Restructuring of Centrally sponsored schemes across the sectors for ameliorating the cause of vulnerable sections of population aims at providing flexibility to the States in better implementation. Critically evaluate. (2013)