Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have come out as the front runners in implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets, as per a NITI Aayog report released on Friday.
The government's premier think tank has developed the country's first SDG India Index to document the progress made by India's states and Union Territories towards meeting SDG targets and released a baseline report for 2018.
Along with the three states, the UTs of Chandigarh and Puducherry were also among the front runners on the SDG India Index with a score between 65 to 99 on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 signifies that it has achieved the 2030 national targets.
"The SDG India Index baseline report 2018 highlights the progress being made by states and UTs in moving towards multiple targets of the SDGs, in the true spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism," NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said.
The SDGs are ambitious global development goals that address key aspects of universal wellbeing across different socio-economic, cultural, geographical divisions and integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development.
"By ranking its states and UTs, India has become the first country to create a composite SDG index to measure progress on SDG targets at the sub-national level," NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.
The Index has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Global Green Growth Institute and United Nations in India.
"Himachal Pradesh ranks high on providing clean water and sanitation, in reducing inequalities and preserving mountain ecosystem. Kerala's top rank is attributed to its superior performance in providing good health, reducing hunger, achieving gender equality and providing quality education.
"Chandigarh leads because of its exemplary performance in providing clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, generating decent work and economic growth and providing quality education," the report said.
While most of the states and UTs, 28 in all, were in the 'Performer' category with index scores being between 50 and 64, only three states Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were in the bottom-most category of 'Aspirant' having a score between 0 to 49.
The Index tracks progress of all states and UTs on 62 priority indicators selected by NITI Aayog, which in turn is guided by MoSPI's National Indicator Framework comprising 306 indicators and based on multiple-round consultations with ministries and states.
The indicators will be further refined and additional indicators will be added with improvement in data collection, reporting processes and methodology, the report said."NITI Aayog is also exploring potential for disaggregating data and developing capacity for real time monitoring and measuring incremental progress," it added.