According to the State of India’s Environment Report 2021, the country’s rank has dropped by two places from last year to 117 on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted as a part of the 2030 agenda by 193 United Nations member states in 2015. However, as per the Niti Aayog’s SDG Index, the country’s overall SDG score has improved by 6 points – from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2020-21.
Findings of the State of India’s Environment Report 2021
The report has revealed that India’s rank was 115 last year and dropped by two places primarily because of major challenges like ending hunger and achieving food security (SDG 2), achieving gender equality (SDG 5) and building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation (SDG 9) remain in the country.
The country ranks below four South Asian countries including Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The overall SDG score of India is 61.9 out of 100.
The report highlighted the preparedness of states saying, Jharkhand and Bihar are the least prepared to meet the SDGs by 2030, which is the target year. The two states are lagging behind in five and seven of the SDGs respectively. The states/UTs with the best overall score which are on the path to achieving the SDGs include Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
The report has also said that India ranked 168 out of 180 countries in terms of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which is calculated on various indicators, including environmental health, climate, air pollution, sanitation and drinking water, ecosystem services, biodiversity, etc. The country ranked 172 in the environmental health category, which is an indicator of how well countries are protecting their populations from environmental health risks.
According to the EPI 2020 report by Yale University, India ranked 148, 21 positions behind Pakistan which was at 127th position in the category of biodiversity and habitat which assesses countries’ actions toward retaining natural ecosystems and protecting the full range of biodiversity within their borders.
Niti Aayog’s SDG Index 2020-21
The Niti Aayog’s SDG Index confers with the State of India’s Environment Report 2021 in claiming that Kerala is at the top position in performance for meeting SDGs, while Bihar is at the last. According to the SDG Index report, The country’s overall SDG score was at 66 in 2020-21. This positive stride towards achieving the targets is largely driven by exemplary country-wide performance in clean water and sanitation, and affordable and clean energy, the Niti Aayog said in a statement.
Kerala retained its rank as the top state with a score of 75. Both Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu took the second spot with a score of 74. Chandigarh maintained its top spot among the union territories (UTs) with a score of 79, followed by Delhi (68).
However, it is important to note that Mizoram, Haryana and Uttarakhand were the top gainers in 2020-21 in terms of improvement in score from 2019, with an increase of 12, 10 and 8 points, respectively.
Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst-performing states in this year’s index.