NITI Aayog Reports on States’ Progress Towards Sustainable Development Goals

The country’s composite score on the Niti Aayog’s index increased to 60 in 2019 from 57 in 2018


The National Institute of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog’s sustainable development goals (SDG) index showed that Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana held the top spots in terms of progress towards sustainable development targets.

The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals intending to end poverty, fight inequality, and address the urgency of climate change. The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, is part of UN Resolution.

The index represents the progress made by India’s states and union territories towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets.

SGD 7 (or Goal 7) refers to the progress made towards achieving energy security and efficiency by increasing sustainable per capita energy consumption, while also ensuring a reduction in emissions and pollution as per global and national targets.

The Goal has three key components: universal access to electricity and clean cooking fuel, increasing share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix, and improving energy efficiency, endorsed in the National Energy Policy.

The report recognizes that the government has targeted programs towards achieving electricity for all, providing increased access to LPG for clean cooking and reduced dependency on biomass for the households. The country’s energy mix is also expanding towards renewable energy (solar, wind, small hydropower, waste-to-energy, among others), increasing the installed capacity and increasing access. Energy efficiency is promoted through enforcing standards and labeling of equipment and appliances, energy conservation building codes for commercial buildings, energy consumption norms for energy-intensive industries, and strengthening regulatory institutions and infrastructure.

In the case of India, two national-level indicators (percentage of households using clean cooking fuel (LPG) and percentage of households electrified) to measure performance towards the goal of affordable and clean energy were identified.

Index Scores of States

Sikkim was the top-performing state for Goal 7, while Puducherry scored the highest among union territories, the report showed. It also documented that 17 states and eight union territories made it to the ‘Front Runners’ category implying that these states are making faster progress towards the target of achieving electricity for all and increasing the number of households using clean cooking fuel (LPG).

Goal 13 refers to the integration of climate action into national policies and strategies. This climate action requires the incorporation of both climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation, according to the report.

Referring to Goal 13, the report mentions India’s policies such as the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), which outlines a detailed strategy to deal with climate change-related issues while adopting advanced technologies. In India, 32 states/UTs have a State Action Plan for Climate Change (SAPCC), and currently, there are 19 wind and 15 solar policies to fight climate change, the report states. Other policies including India’s target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2022, establishing the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP) to monitor air quality with a network of 680 monitoring stations located in 300 cities, covering 29 states and six UTs are seen as India’s efforts towards Goal 13.

Karnataka and Lakshadweep were the top state and union territory, respectively, towards achieving Goal 13.


Performance of States

The NITI Aayog report highlights that the most significant progress had been made in goals 6 (clean water and sanitation, 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure) and 7 (affordable and clean energy).

“NITI Aayog has committed itself to building capacities and monitoring progress at the state level. Close coordination with the states over the next five years will further accelerate SDG localization and ensure greater improvement,” said Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman at NITI Aayog.

In 2018, NITI Aayog and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) entered a partnership for sustainable development in India.

Last year, the Commonwealth of Nations and the International Solar Alliance (ISA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand solar power in the Commonwealth member countries. Together, ISA and Commonwealth will be able to look at country-wide strategies to promote the Paris Agreement on climate change, and Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 13 on clean, affordable energy and climate action. The ISA and Commonwealth have at least twenty-eight common member countries. The ISA is a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization headquartered in India.

In another step towards meeting the sustainable development goals, in 2019, the President of India gave his approval for the continuation of the renewable energy research and technology development program for implementation during 2017-18 and 2019-20 at the cost of ₹1.75 billion (~$24.70 million). The program comes under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).