India Among the Lowest South Asian Countries towards Sustainable Development Goals

Dr Archana Verma

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network has released its annual Sustainable Development Report, which includes the 2021 SDG Index and Dashboards. The yearly resources provide data to track and rank the performance of all UN Member States on the 17 SDGs. The 2021 report also includes the International Spillover Index, which was developed by the report’s authors.

South Asian Countries' Performance

The SDG ranking includes the index of all member states of the UN regarding their performance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Many developing countries have fallen in 2021 but there are many that have performed well. Special mention is made of Afghanistan which has risen from very low ranking from previous year.

India despite being the largest South Asian country, has performed poorly in its SDG achievement. In fact, India is amongst the lowest ranked in South Asia, ahead of only Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Following are the scores achieved by the South Asian countries on a 100 points scale - 

Bhutan - 69.98

Maldives - 69.27

Sri Lanka - 68.10

Nepal - 66.52

Bangladesh - 63.45

India - 60.07 (120th Place)

Pakistan - 57.72 (129th Place)

Afghanistan - 53.93

In comparison, here are the scores of some other countries - 

China - 72.06 (57th Place)

Indonesia - 66.34

Thailand - 74.19

Ghana - 62.49

Egypt - 68.65

Saudi Arabia - 66.30

Tajikistan - 69.76

Armenia - 71.79

Brazil - 71.34

Peru - 71.09

South Africa - 63.74

Please note that all of these countries are above India.

Here are some countries with stronger economies - 

Finland - 85.90 (1st place)

UK - 79.97 (17th Place)

US - 76.01 (32nd Place)

Japan - 79.85 (18th Place)

Canada - 79.16 (21st Place)

Germany - 82.48 (4th place)

Australia - 75.58 (35th Place)

The notable part is that in this group, US has a relatively lower score than the others.

It's time for India to pull itself up and begin making efforts to meet its sustainable development goals. It will be able to do so if only it makes it clear to the urban, well to do public that they have to abandon their current unsustainable lifestyles and begin following the sustainable lifestyles. Further, rural people should not adopt this unsustainable lifestyle as they grow richer. Third, Government policy should integrate sustainability into every aspect and explain to people why these policies are made and how they bring in sustainability.
A good example is the rise in the price of petrol and diesel. Government should tell the public that it's time for them to move to E-vehicles and other modes of transport rather than continue to depend upon petrol and diesel vehicles.
Similarly, there should be a clear vision of industrial chemical, gas and waste management. Industries should be told that they will not be allowed to operate unless they integrate sustainability in their every policy. Without this, with its vast population and the people's tendency to continue living mindlessly without a thought to what they do to the environment, India is bound to sink further.