The implementation of sustainable development goals in India: Towards a holistic future

The sustainable development goals refer to a holistic universal plan for all nations of the world aimed at ensuring prosperity, protecting the planet and ending poverty. The SDGs encompasses a set of 17 interlinked goals which include 169 targets which seek to build on the Millennium development goals. This transformational and supremely ambitious plan tend to create a world free of atrocities such as poverty, hunger, diseases which is also free of fear and violence.

All the member nations of the United Nations are bound to achieve this integrated and indivisible goal within 15 years. They are a part of UN resolution 70/1, the 2030 agenda. The SDGs also include solving issues of education, gender, equality, economic growth, peace, climate action, clean energy, clean water etc. So, this set of global goals gives us hope for fair and sustainable growth from the planetary biosphere to the local community.

The implementation of sustainable development goals in India: Towards a holistic future

India along with other countries signed the declaration on the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development at the Sustainable Development Summit of the United Nations in September 2015. The Sustainable Development goals are a part of the country’s longstanding tradition and heritage of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which captures the spirit of the country’s approach to all aspects of life including economic development. As India is considered, the sustainable development of one-sixth of humanity will be of great consequence to the world and our beautiful planet. India has played a key role in framing the goals and ensuring balance among its three pillars- Economic, social and environmental. As one of the major economies of the world, India has a great role in implementing inclusive and sustainable development. It has also implemented various schemes and programmes to progress towards these goals.

Even though the largest democracy in the world has limitations such as relatively low per capita income and large population, its policies are inclusive and far-reaching. The country’s national development goals are mirrored in the SDGs. India’s developmental Slogan –“Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” (Collective Effort, Inclusive Development) and the national schemes and programmes related to it closely track the sustainable development goals.

The implementation of sustainable development goals in India: Towards a holistic future

As India targets economic growth, infrastructure development and Industrialisation, its fight in eradicating poverty is focused on social inclusion and empowerment of the poor.

As India adopts a federal structure of governance, a common understanding and guidelines have been laid down to ensure coordination. The responsibilities have been divided among various bodies and agencies at the centre and state levels. The key duty rests with NITI Aayog with Prime Minister as the Chairperson which provides overall leadership.

The ideology of cooperation is inherent in India’s civilizational values. The Indian Parliament has also taken exemplary initiatives to propel the SDG agenda forward. The Economic survey in 2018-19 states that India continues to target and maintain its economic growth by introducing and implementing various policies and measures relating to sustainable development, climate change, resource efficiency and air pollution.

The implementation of sustainable development goals in India: Towards a holistic future

Steps taken by the Indian Government:

  • Ratifying Paris Agreement: It refers to the 21st Conference Of Parties under the UNFCC which concluded on the adoption of the Paris Agreement on post-2020 actions on climate change. It is expected to succeed the Kyoto protocol. The major focus of the agreement is to hold the increase in global average in temperature to well below 2 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial level
  • Goal specific policies: Several programmes focusing on Individual Goals have been initiated such as Goal 1: Several anti-poverty schemes have been implemented such as The Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana etc. Goal 2: Significant progress in improving food security and fighting nutritional deficiency through programmes such as Mid-day meal, strengthening of public distribution system etc. Goal 5: Numerous measures to promote gender equality has been adopted such as Beti Bachao Beti padhao. Goal 17: The most important goal which focuses on global partnership for sustainable development. Apart from these missions such as Namami Gange plan was adopted to achieve SDG
  • The clean development Mechanism projects in India: India stands the second highest in the world in Clean development mechanism projects with China with 1593 projects consuming 13.27 per cent of the total number of CERs issued. Those projects are in energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy switching etc.
  • Coal cess and national clean energy fund: India has carbon tax as cess on coal it was also found progressively increasing it. The national clean energy fund was also created, supported by this coal cess.
  • National adaptation fund for Climate Change: The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) was established in August 2015 to meet the cost of adaptation to climate change for the State and Union Territories of India that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
The implementation of sustainable development goals in India: Towards a holistic future

The SDG implementation process has started yielding valuable insights. NITI Aayog is promoting a national network of resource institutions called samavesh. The national clean energy programme of 2019, National policy on Resource efficiency etc are a building block in framing the policies towards a holistic future

Apart from integrating the SDGs into its on-going national and sub-national policies and programmes, India will continue to focus on nurturing partnerships at the regional and global levels. It will work towards ensuring a greater flow of finances and technology from developed countries – in alignment with their explicit commitment in the context of the 2030 Agenda to developing and under-developed nations.

India, being a developing country has continuously demonstrated its responsibility towards implementing climate actions on the basis of the principle of equity