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
At State level
At district level
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.
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