Karnataka climbed two notches this year to clinch the title of a front runner state, scoring 10 out of 16 social development goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations but remained behind on two vital parameters of poverty eradication and gender equality. Kerala topped the list of 37 states and union territories.
The overall index of India improved three places to 60 from the last year's 57, said the SDG India index released by Centre's think tank Niti Aayog, which is mandated to oversee the progress of SDGs since last year.
Karnataka staged tremendous improvement in becoming an open defecation free (ODF) state with 93.33% of its districts dropping the practice of defecating in the open. Last year, the state had only 50% of its districts under ODF category.
Similarly, on the parameters of household electrification and rural household toilets, Karnataka scored 100%, improving significantly from last year. The state's score increased five-fold on providing houses to urban poor with 27% completion of dwellings under Prime Minister Aawas Yojana (PMAY) compared to nearly 5% in 2018.
On health index, the southern state improved its own performance by three notches to 72 since last year and remained one of the top performers. Kerala scored 82 on a scale of 100.
However, on poverty, hunger and gender equality index, Karnataka's own tally was worse than last year. On the SDG goal of poverty eradication, it came down to 49 from 52. Worse, on removing hunger, it slipped 17 notches to 37 from 54 last year. On gender equality, it fell one place.
While Bihar, Jharkhand and Arunchal Pradesh are the worst performing States in this year, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim showed maximum improvement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat did not show any improvement vis-a-vis its 2018 ranking.
Only three states were placed in the category of front runners in 2018 – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala,
and Tamil Nadu. In 2019, five more states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Sikkim and Goa – joined the league.
India along with 192 other countries signed the declaration on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the Sustainable Development Summit of the United Nations in September 2015.
The United Nations’ SDG target of 2030 can never be met without India... We are fully committed to achieving UN’s SDG target,” Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said at the launch of SDG India Index 2019.