[Editorial Analysis] Two cheers

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: SDG India Index 2020-21
Mains level: Inclusive growth, environmental conservation

Context:

• India has improved its overall SDG score from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2021, according to NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index 2020-21.

The Data:

• SDGs on eradication of poverty and hunger, measures related to the availability of affordable, clean energy in particular, showed improvements across several States and Union Territories.

• India also is on path of achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean energy, urban development and health.

• The campaign to improve the access of households to electricity and clean cooking fuel has been shown to be an important factor.

• Major decline in the areas of industry, innovation and infrastructure besides decent work and economic growth, again made worse by the lockdowns imposed by the governments.

• Persisting socio-economic and governance disparities are evident between the southern and western States on the one hand and the north-central and eastern States in their performance on the SDGs.

• If left unaddressed, it may exacerbate federal challenges and outcomes, as seen in the public health challenges during the second wave across some of the worse-off States.

Methodology:

• Index has curiously made some methodological changes that render comparisons on some SDGs over previous years moot.

• For example, the SDG on inequality shows an improvement over 2019, but the indicators used to measure the score have changed.

• 2020-21 Index drops several economic indicators and gives greater weightage to social equality indicators such as representation of women and people from marginalised communities in legislatures and local governance institutions, and crimes against SC/ST communities.

• Gini coefficient measure and the growth rate for household expenditure per capita among 40% of rural and urban populations have been dropped thus failing to capture the impact of the pandemic on wealth inequality.

Way Ahead:

• While the better score for India in its endeavour to achieve SDGs will bring some cheer, governments must work on addressing pressing issues such as increased inequality and economic despair.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the PLI Scheme for telecom & Networking equipment, consider the following statements:

1. NABARD has been appointed as the Project Management Agency (PMA) for the PLI scheme.

2. The Scheme is open to both MSME and Non-MSME Companies including Domestic and Global Companies.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1) What is the SDG India Index? What is the impact created by the methodological changes?

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