According to a new report, India has dropped three ranks from last year’s 117 to 120 on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals announced as part of the 2030 agenda by 192 UN member states in 2015. With the most recent rankings, India has fallen behind all other South Asian countries, with the exception of Pakistan, which is ranked 129th. Bhutan is ranked 75th, Sri Lanka is 87th, Nepal is 96th, and Bangladesh is 109th in South Asia. The total score for India’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was 66 out of 100.
According to the State of India’s Environment Report, 2022, India’s ranking has declined due to substantial issues in 11 SDGs, including zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, gender equality, and sustainable cities and communities. In this context, let us have a look at the key findings of the State of India’s Environment Report 2022.
What is State of India’s Environment Report 2022?
State of India’s Environment Report is the annual publication of the Centre for Science and Environment, and Down To Earth (magazine). The report focuses on climate change, migration, health and food systems. It also covers biodiversity, forest and wildlife, energy, industry, habitat, pollution, waste, agriculture and rural development.
India’s Current standing in meeting its National Targets
India had set up a target to grow its GDP to at least $4 trillion by 2022-23. The report states that as of 2020, the economic growth is valued at only $2.48 trillion. It also states that the economy is likely shrunk in the last couple of years amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foe employment, India targeted to increase the rate of its female labour force participation to at least 30 per cent by 2022-23. It stood at 17.3 per cent in January – March 2020.
It was a national target of India to construct 29.5 million housing units under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)-Rural and 12 million units under PMAY-Urban. Only about 46.8% and 38% respectively of the targets under ‘Housing for All’ have been achieved. With regards to the target of providing safe piped drinking water to all by 2022-23, only 45 per cent of it has been achieved so far.
One of the ambitious targets of the Indian administration was to double farmers’ income by 2022. While an agricultural household’s average monthly income has risen to Rs 10,218 from Rs 6,426, this rise is mostly owing to increases in wages and income from farming animals. In reality, the share of crop production income in an agricultural household’s average monthly income has decreased, from 48 per cent in 2012-13 to 37.2 per cent in 2018-19.
With regards to air pollution, the target was to bring down Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 levels in Indian cities to less than 50 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3). In 2020, when vehicular movement was restricted due to the pandemic, 23 of the 121 cities monitored for PM2.5 exceeded 50 µg/m3.
For Solid waste management, the target is to achieve 100% source segregation in all households. The overall progress of this is 78%; and while states like Kerala and Union territories like Puducherry have achieved the target, others like West Bengal and Delhi are woefully behind. Additionally, manual scavenging is targeted for eradication, but India still has 66,692 manual scavengers.
India’s target with respect to forest cover was to increase it to 33.3% of the geographical area, as envisaged in the National Forest Policy, 1988. By 2019, 21.6% of India was under forest cover.
With regards to energy, India’s target is to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2022. Only 56% of this target has been achieved thus far.
Performance of the States of India
The report has highlighted that Jharkhand and Bihar are the least prepared to meet the SDGs by the target year 2030. Kerala ranked first, followed by Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh in the second position. The third position was shared by Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Among the Union Territories, Chandigarh was ranked first, followed by Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry in the second place and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the third.