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  • Writer's pictureLAWGIC STRATUM

Sustainable Development Goals and India’s Position

Author: Kanishk Sawhney

The term “sustainable development” has been coined by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED)[1], well known as Brundtland Commission, in its report “Our Common Future”.

Sustainable Development consists of two key concepts[2] i.e., the concept of the essential needs of the present generation and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment is the ability to meet present and future needs.

There are three fundamental components of sustainable development. They are as follows-

  1. Environment

  2. Economy

  3. Society

The Global Goals or Sustainable Development Goals came into action in 2015 and were adopted by the United Nations Member States. These goals were universally accepted, to end poverty, protection that must be provided to the planet and confirming that all the people enjoy peace, harmony, and there must be prosperity by 2030.[3]

There are 17 sustainable development goals, and all these goals are inter-related to each other. If an action is done in one area, then it will affect the outcome in other areas. Thus the development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

The member countries took a pledge to leave no country behind. Those countries that are behind will be first looked upon, and their progress is more important. The purpose of sustainable development goals is to bring the world to life-changing ‘zeros’, including zero-poverty, hunger, AIDS, etc.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are as follows-

1. Eradicating poverty in all forms and from everywhere

2. Cessation of Hunger as well as attainment of food security

3. A healthy lifestyle, as well as welfare, must be there for everyone.

4. Equality is necessary for quality education, and equal opportunities.

5. Gender equality and women's empowerment are important.

6. Clean water and Sanitation is essential

7. Affordable and clean energy for everyone

8. Promoting Shared Economic Growth

9. Promoting innovation and sustainable industrialization

10. The decrease in Inequality.

11. Sustainable cities and communities

12. Responsible consumption as well as the production of goods

13. Taking necessary actions with changes in climate

14. Conservation and judicious use of oceans, seas, and marine resources

15. Life on land must be preserved.

16. Promoting peace, justice, and strong institutions

17. Strong global partnerships to achieve the goals.


NITI Aayog, the Government of India’s think tank, has the charge of coordinating the sustainable development goals. States are also being advised to undertake a similar mapping of their schemes, including schemes that are being sponsored by the Centre.[4]

Besides, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation are entrusted with the process of developing national indicators for sustainable development goals.

Some of the important government flagship programs such as Swachh Bharat, Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, etc. are from the core of Sustainable Development Goals.

The United Nations supports NITI Aayog[5] in its efforts to address the interconnectedness of the goals and to ensure that no one is left behind. They also help advocate adequate financing to achieve the goals.

Challenges in attaining Sustainable Development Goals in India-

Four things are identified, as areas of concern in achieving the goals. They are as follows-

Defining Indicators-The major problem in India is the lack of suitable indicators that helps in efficient monitoring of the progress. The records of India show that it is not possible to measure the outcomes with the help of relevant indicators.

Financing Sustainable Development Goals- According to the UN MDG (Millennium Development Goals) 2014 report[6], despite high economic growth in 2010, 1/3rd of the world’s 1.2 billion extreme poor lived in India.[7] The gap of funding can only be covered, by increasing the private sector investments, especially in infrastructure, food security, and climate change sectors.

Monitoring & Ownership-The third major challenge is for ownership. Though NITI Aayog plays a major role in tracking the progress of goals, its members have expressed their concern about the enormous task.

Measuring Progress- It is the major challenge of not being able to measure the progress or achievement of goals. The government has also admitted that the non-availability of appropriate data has made the measurement of progress impossible.


India is a country with the second largest population in the world. The steps required to be taken by India to achieve sustainable development goals matter a lot to the world. If India is successful in achieving these goals, then this would mean a large section of the world has achieved it. Therefore, India must develop methods for implementation, monitoring, and measuring the progress of these goals. The biggest challenge to be resolved is the development of suitable indicators that will help in the measurement of the progress. It can only be done, through the development of the Indian Index for Sustainable Development.


[1] World Commission for Environmental Development Report, [2] What is Sustainable development?, [3] Sustainable Development Goals, [4] [5] SDG, United Nations in India,,financing%20to%20achieve%20the%20SDGs. [6] UNMDG report 2014,

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