- Index released by NITI Aayog.
- According to the SDG Index, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu have been ranked on top 3 positions and are on track to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
- Index aims to promote healthy competition among States by evaluating their progress in social, economic and environmental terms that will help India in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.
- Based on the performance of the States and UTs across 13 of the 17 identified SDGs, a score ranging between 0 and 100 has been assigned to each of them in the index.
- Chandigarh has been declared as the front runner in the Index with a score of 68 among the UTS.
- Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are at the bottom of the rankings in the NITI Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals Index .
Strategy for New [email protected]
- The NITI Aayog has unveiled a strategy document called the “Strategy for New [email protected]” suggesting various reforms to make India a 4-trillion dollar economy by 2022-23.
- The strategy plan talks about various several economic reforms that should be taken in order to accelerate India’s economy to reach the 4 trillion USD mark.
- The main idea is to go for such reforms in the economy that will keep India growing at 8% annually that could be quicken to 9-10% by 2022-23 but ensuring that such growth of economy is clean, inclusive, formalised and sustainable.
Some of the reforms suggested in the report are:
- The document suggests increasing the share of taxes in the national income from current 17% to 22%.
- The report calls for the inclusion of fuel and electricity within the ambit of goods and services tax (GST).
- Airports and the key railway assets such as freight terminals, engines, rolling stock should be privatised as per the strategy.
- Major infrastructure projects such as Bharatmala Pariyojana and roads-construction in the north-eastern region should be completed.
- All of the 250,000 gram panchayats should be digitally connected by 2019 through the Bharat Net programme. The government services should be delivered digitally to all the gram panchayats by 2022-23.
- Using idle land for productive use that is available with government companies.
- Power for All and a pucca house for every family has to be ensured.
- It advises the government to divest its stake and exit non-strategic sectors, thereby adding to the exchequer.
- FDI limits should be liberalised across all industries and foreign investments in government securities should be encouraged. Easing up of rupee bond limits is another suggestion in the document.
- There is a need to revamp the existing Mineral exploration policy. The document also calls for the need of a regulator in the Mineral Exploration sector.
- Goods and services exports have to be doubled from $478 billion in FY18 to $800 billion by FY23.
- The central and state government should work on improving the business environment and relaxing of land and labour rules.
- The investment rate should be boosted from 29% of GDP in FY18 to 36% by FY23 as per the NITI Aayog.
As per NITI Aayog, the reforms as suggested in the document, if implemented, would put the boost the economy, reduce poverty and improve the quality of life.
These reports were prepared by five working groups which were set up by NITI Aayog in June 2017 to prepare roadmap for actions in five thematic areas that are quite significant for the Himalayas. These working groups were constituted after NITI Aayog recognised that Himalayan mountains require specific solutions for resilience building that address socio-economic and environmental challenges in the mountain setting.
Key Features of five Thematic reports
- Inventory and Revival of springs in Himalayas for Water Security:
- Nearly 30% of springs, crucial to water security of people in Himalayas are drying and 50% have reported reduced discharge.
- There is need for spring mapping and revival by using eight steps protocol that must be taken up across Himalayan States in phased manner.
- It calls for setting up of Mission on Spring Water Management in Himalayas.
- Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region:
- Himalayan Tourism is growing annually at 6.8% and has created huge challenge related to solid waste, water, traffic, loss of bio-cultural diversity etc.
- Projected arrival of tourists will be more than double by 2025.
- Urgent actions are needed to address issues of waste management and water crisis.
- The concept of carrying capacity must be applied to all major tourist destinations.
- Besides tourism sector standards must be implemented and monitored.
- Performance based incentives must be approved for states.
- Himalayan Authority must be launched for coordinated and holistic development of entire Himalayan region.
- “Himalaya Calling: An Awareness to Action Campaign” must be launched as people’s movement.
- Transformative approach to shifting cultivation:
- Thousands of households in north eastern states, continue to practice shifting cultivation i.e. slash and burn (Jhum cultivation) which needs to be addressed in view of ecological, food and nutritional security.
- There is urgent need for assessment of nature and extent of shifting cultivation area.
- Moreover there is need for improved policy coherence, strengthened tenurial security and improved access to related programs for transform shifting cultivation.
- National Mission/Program on Transforming Shifting Cultivation in North Eastern States must be set up.
- Strengthening Skill and Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas:
- The Himalayan states face severe challenge of unskilled workforce and migration of youths.
- There is urgent need to strengthen skill and entrepreneurship workforce in Himalayan region with required focus on identified priority sectors where mountains have advantage, along with investment in trainers, assessors and setting up training centers with industry partnership.
- There is need to set up demand driven network of skill and entrepreneurship development Centers in Himalayan States along with consortium of institutions of high learning for mountain specific research and technology.
- Data/Information for Informed Decision Making:
- Himalayan states face challenges related to data availability, data authenticity, compatibility, data quality, validation, user charges.
- It needs to be addressed for informed decision making at different levels of governance. Central Data Management Agency for Himalayas must be set up to provide data with high fidelity scenario.
- It will help in addressing data sharing, access, authenticity and comparability issues.
- It should be linked with Hindukush Himalaya Monitoring and Assessment program (HIMAP).
- Central Data Management Agency for Himalayan Database must be set up at GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development.