Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
31 JAN 2022 2:45PM by PIB Delhi

India has progressed on the fulfillment of Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) through improvement in score of NITI Aayog SDG India Index & Dashboard to 66 in 2020-21 from 60 in 2019-20 and 57 in 2018-19. The Economic Survey for FY 2021-22, as tabled in the Parliament today by Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman mentions this achievement and reiterates India’s commitment towards achieving social, economic and environmental goals under SDGs.  

India’s progress on Sustainable Development Goals

The Survey makes the following observations w.r.t performance of States and UTs on the NITI Aayog SDG India Index, 2021:

  1. Number of Front Runners (scoring 65-99) has increased to 22 states and UTs in 2020-21 from 10 in 2019-20
  2. Kerala and Chandigarh being the top state and UT
  3. 64 districts were Front Runners and 39 districts were Performers in North East India (North-Eastern Region District SDG Index 2021-22)

State of the Environment

The Economic Survey highlights the importance of balancing rapid economic growth with conservation, ecological security & environmental sustainability and focuses on the following areas:

  • Land Forests

The Survey notes that India has increased its forest area significantly over the past decade and now ranks third globally in average annual net gain in forest area between 2010 to 2020. At the same time, India’s forest cover has increased by more than three per cent during 2011 to 2021, mainly attributed to increase in very dense forest, growing by 20 per cent during the period.

  • Plastic Waste Management and Single Use Plastics

The Survey reiterates the announcement made by the Prime Minister that India would phase-out single use plastic by 2022. Recognising the need for global community to act on this issue, India has adopted a resolution on “Addressing Single Use Plastic Product Pollution” at United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019.

      At domestic level, the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 was notified, which aims at this phasing-out of single use plastic. The draft regulation on the Extended Producer Responsibility for plastic packaging has also been notified to strengthen the circular economy of plastic packaging waste, promote development of new alternatives to plastics and sustainable plastic packaging.

  • Water

The ground water resource management and the findings indicate that States/UTs need to manage its ground water resources carefully, including recharge, and to stem the over-exploitation. The Survey mentions the finding that over-exploitation of ground water resources is concentrated in north-west and parts of southern India.

 The Survey also observes that Reservoir live storage is at its peak during monsoon months and lowest in summer months and therefore requires careful planning and coordination of storage, release and utilization of reservoirs.

Highlighting the number of sewage infrastructure projects created under Namami Gange Mission since its inception, the Survey brings to light the improvement in compliance status of Grossly Polluting Industries (GPIs) located in the Ganga main stem and its tributaries from 39 per cent in 2017 to 81 per cent in 2020. There has also been reduction in effluent discharge 349.13 million of liters per day (MLD) in 2017 to 280.20 MLD in 2020.

  • Air

National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was launched by the Govt. of India with a target to achieve 20-30 per cent reduction in particulate matter (PM) concentrations by 2024 across the country. The Survey mentions that the programme is being implemented across 132 cities. The Survey also states other steps are being taken to control and minimize air pollution from various sources in the country, covering Vehicular Emissions, Industrial Emission, Air Pollution due to dust and burning of waste and Monitoring of Ambient Air Quality.

India and Climate Change

India had announced its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement in 2015 and in 2021 announced ambitious targets to be achieved by 2030 to enable further reduction in emissions. The need to start the one-word movement ‘LIFE’ which means Lifestyle For Environment urging mindful and deliberate utilization instead of mindless and destructive consumption, has also been underlined by the Survey document.

The Survey mentions that India has been exercising significant climate leadership at the international stage under the International Solar Alliance (ISA), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT Group). The Ministry of Finance, RBI and SEBI have also taken several initiatives in the area of sustainable finance.