CAG pokes holes in govt's plan for achieving SDG goals

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has highlighted several gaps in the government's preparedness for implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), recommending that a “comprehensive” charter and action plan with “well-defined” milestones be formulated after due consultation to achieve the targets.

The SDGs consists of 17 global goals and 160 associated targets that the United Nations General Assembly set in 2015 to be achieved by 2030. The 2030 agenda seeks to achieve sustainable development in all three dimensions—economic, social and environmental—in a balanced and integrated manner both for present and future generations.

Assessing the extent of adaptation of the 2030 agenda at the national level, the CAG in its report, tabled in Parliament on Monday, noted that the NITI Aayog, nodal agency for coordination and overseeing implementation of the SDGs, has undertaken various mainstreaming activities.

“However, a roadmap with defined milestones aligned with the SDG targets to be achieved in the year 2020, 2025 and 2030 is yet to be prepared,” it noted.

To analyse and review the implementation of the SDGs, the NITI Aayog had constituted a multi-disciplinary Task Force in August 2017.

The Task Force was required to meet “at least once” in each quarter but it held only two meetings since its constitution, the report added.

For the preparation of “Vision, Strategy and Action Agenda” documents for the country, the NITI Aayog had asked Union ministries in May 2016 to provide inputs so that the documents adequately reflect the priorities and concerns of various sectors and regions.

“Out of the three mandated documents, the NITI Aayog released the 'Three Year Action Agenda' in August 2017 covering the period 2017-20. In December 2018, it released a Strategy document titled “Strategy for New India @75” covering the period up to 2022-23.

“The third mandated document—15 Year Vision Document—was yet to be released even though this was supposed to be the basis for the Strategy and Action Agenda documents. States are yet to prepare policy documents. Mapping of goals/targets undertaken by NITI Aayog and selected States is still ongoing,” the CAG noted in its report.

The 2030 agenda aims to end poverty and hunger everywhere, combat inequalities within and among countries, build peaceful, just and inclusive societies, protect human rights, promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources.

It also aims to create conditions for inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all.

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