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Himachal, Kerala, TN, Chandigarh, Puducherry Leading India’s SDG 2030 Scores

Their scores are in the range of 65-69 of the total 100 points.



The first review of the Agenda 2030 or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 was held on September 24-25, 2019 at the SDG Summit with some follow-up meetings taking place until mid-October 2019. It was preceded by a related review conference on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the third Financing for Development (FFD) Conference in April 2019. The two are held in parallel as the FFD process is aimed at garnering domestic and external sources of finance for achieving the SDGs.

The progress made by India in implementing the SDGs was documented in India’s first voluntary national review that was submitted to the High Level Political Forum on the SDGs in 2017.

The report also highlighted the measures adopted to spruce up the domestic resources through mainly internal tax reforms. The second report on progress will be presented at the High Level Political Forum in 2020.

As mentioned in the 2017 national review report, India is making the effort to ensure that its impressive growth trickles down to the last man standing through proactive state interventions. At both the review conferences, India’s representatives in the United Nations (UN) highlighted the domestic actions and flagship schemes that have had a notable impact.

The National Institution for Transforming India or NITI Aayog, the nodal agency for implementing the SDGs, has launched the India Index, an online dashboard, which monitors the implementation of the SDGs at the state level. It also provides incentives to the states, bringing in competition to better their performance.

As of now, the states of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the union territories of Chandigarh and Puducherry are the front-runners with high composite scores, relating to thirteen of the seventeen goals that have been used to prepare the dashboard.

Their scores are in the range of 65-69 of the total 100 points. On individual goals, the scores go much higher in states other than the front runners. Some states have even achieved the targets on individual goals.

Table 1: States and Goals with a Score of 100

S.No. State/Union Territory Goals Achieved
1. Assam 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
2. Chandigarh 1.Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
3. Chhattisgarh 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
4. Daman and Diu 1.Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
5. Dadra and Nagar Haveli 1.Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

2.Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

3.Goal 15: Life on Land

6 Delhi 1.Goal 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
7. Goa 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
8. Gujarat 1.Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
9. Lakshadweep 1.Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

2.Goal 15: Life on Land

10. Manipur 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
11. Meghalaya 1.Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
12. Mizoram 1.Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
13. Odisha 1.Goal 15: Life on Land
14. Puducherry 1.Goal 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
15. Uttarakhand 1.Goal 15: Life on Land

The FFD and SDGs processes, however, are not only important for the synergies they bring to the actual achievement of goals. Their significance also lies in what they bring to the high table of global governance of development.


In the yesteryears, issues of the have-nots that were pushed onto to the agenda of the UN by countries of the South was often regarded as instances of “the tyranny of the majority” by the North. Notwithstanding the ideological turn to liberalism by many countries of the South, their issues did not fade away. “Embedded liberalism” therefore needed to find ways of addressing the quandaries of the new entrants to the liberal order.

As a result of efforts from within the UN system, as well as flexible responses of the North and the South, a discursive middle ground on issues of development seems to have been arrived at. The FFD and SDG processes represent this middle ground.

The beginning of this process was in the mid-1990s, and the first notable achievement was the Monterrey Consensus of 2002, which, uniquely, was arrived at with the substantial involvement of Bretton Woods Institutions.

It was accepted that the needs of the liberal South required special attention from the North, but that the South itself needed to do much more to address its issues and could choose its own ways to do so. That set the ball rolling for a renewed focus on the importance of the official development assistance (ODA), a fairer system of international taxation, etc., which had been a part of the Southern discourse for decades.

The adoption of the SDGs even resulted in a complete revamping of the UN system for providing development assistance with the new system being unveiled in January 2019. It is important to highlight some aspects of India’s role in this process.

India’s Role:

Ideationally, as gleaned from interactions with the officials of the ministry of external affairs, India made three conscious contributions to the SDG and FFD processes.

India argued for the adoption of nationally determined indicators for the SDG goals, thus ensuring that nations remained committed to the goals adopted and the goals themselves were achievable.

It also pushed for greater sensibility towards women’s requirements in the adoption of the SDGs.

And finally, it pushed for the creation of a Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) to further the achievement of the SDGs. The significance of these is evident from the fact that all the three eventually found a place in the outcome documents of the processes.

Diplomatically, India participated in these processes as part of the G77, a group of developing countries or the South that was formed in the 1960s and was responsible in part for the “tyranny” referred to earlier. On some issues, these countries had the support of some developed countries as well.

Within the group though, India’s commitment to South-South Cooperation too has come of age. India has set up the India-UN Development Partnership Fund by providing US$150 million for it.

The Fund works to promote the SDGs in developing countries and functions on the principles of South-South Cooperation.

Since its inception in March 2017, 38 projects have been identified with 36 partner countries, and 29 are at various stages of implementation. India’s funding helps track progress through data collection on achieving the targets related to the SDGs.

A sum of $176 million has been committed to the Fund for the next decade to focus on developmental projects in the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS) in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

As highlighted in the report of the Fund, the projects cover a range of thematic areas such as climate resilience, environmental sustainability, gender equality, renewable energy, improving women’s and maternal health, water and sanitation, education, employment and livelihoods, disaster recovery and risk management, and agricultural development and infrastructure.

India also supports the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.

Institutionally, India has demonstrated a bold commitment to multilateralism by providing funding to the UN Tax Trust Fund since its establishment in 2017; bold as it is the only country to have done so. An amount of $100,000 has been provided for two consecutive years.

At a special meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on International Cooperation in Tax Matters in April 2019, the Indian representative explained that in addition to the major tasks at hand like the UN Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries, and the mutual agreement procedure for dispute avoidance and resolution, the Transfer Pricing Manual, the Extractive Industries Handbook, the Manual for the Negotiation of Bilateral Tax Treaties, etc., the Council should especially focus on the issue that is going to impact the developing countries the most i.e. tax consequences of the digitised economy on the achievement of SDGs.

An Enduring Lineage:

On all three parameters – ideational, diplomatic and institutional – India’s role is a continuation of a long lineage. In the realm of ideas, India has long been associated with contributions to international norms that have upheld the economic sovereignty of developing countries.

Diplomatically, India has worked mostly with the G77 coalition on economic matters which overtime has found a way of arriving at consensus statements that benefit the least well off and do not harm the better off.

Institutionally, since the inception of Bretton Woods Institutions and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) outside the purview of the UN, India’s endeavour has always been to strengthen the role of the UN in economic matters through the establishment of forums such as the Special United Nations Fund for Economic Development (SUNFED) for transfer of technology and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for ensuring that the trading system is deferential to the developmental requirements of the Southern nations.

While the UNCTAD endures with partial successes, the SUNFED, similar to initiatives like the New International Economic Order (NIEO), was not successful for lack of support from the developed world despite the adoption of General Assembly resolutions. It therefore remains to be seen if this renewed attempt at seeking financial support for achieving the SDGs, this time being worked through the ECOSOC, will succeed.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Originally published by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.inhere.

Arpita Anant

Arpita Anant is an Associate Fellow at IDSA. She joined the Institute in 2007 and was associated with the Internal Security Centre until 2012. Based on field study, her research focussed on the transition in the state of Jammu and Kashmir from a period of high levels of turmoil due to terrorism during the 1990s.

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CAA Is Fulfilment Of A Longstanding Demand

The Act illustrates the Indian culture of acceptance, harmony, compassion and brotherhood.



The Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, which came into force on December 12, 2019, has been welcomed as a long-overdue humanitarian gesture towards non-Muslim refugees compelled to flee from the three neighbouring countries due to religious persecution.

The Act states that any person belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or the Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered into India on or before December 31, 2014, without proper documents (passport, visa, etc.), shall not be treated as an illegal migrant and granted citizenship on certain conditions and restrictions, provided s/he has been in India for an aggregate period of not less than five years.

In other words, the Act does not immediately grant citizenship to the six religious communities but merely makes them eligible to apply for the Indian citizenship by naturalisation, provided they can establish their residency in India for five years instead of the existing eleven years.

The government stated that amendment to the Citizenship Act was made because the said minorities were subjected to religious persecution and they had nowhere to go but to enter India illegally.

While the term ‘religious persecution’ itself is not mentioned in the Act, the government had clarified that “the Bill has been drafted in such a way that it gives reference to the Notifications dated September 7, 2015, and July 18, 2016, which mention the term ‘Religious Persecution.’”

The Act, however, has faced opposition from sections of the society including university students, intellectuals, religious communities, and political parties. The primary contention of the opponents is that the Act discriminates against Muslims and undermines the Right to Equality enshrined in the Constitution which, inter alia, stipulates that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, and place of birth.

The fact, however, is that CAA does not deal with Indian citizens including Muslims but merely provides for non-Muslim refugees from the three specified countries to acquire Indian citizenship.

In no way or by any implication this Act disfavours Indian Muslims. Therefore any attempt to link it with the rights of Indian Muslim citizens is erroneous.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured that “CAA does not affect any citizen of India of any religion. No Indian has anything to worry regarding this Act. This Act is only for those who have faced years of persecution outside and have no other place to go except India.”

Further, CAA has been passed by the Parliament after due process and it is for the Supreme Court, which has been approached in this regard, to rule whether the Act is constitutional or not in terms of its abidance by the Right to Equality.

The opposition to the Act in the Northeast is on account of it not being in the interest of the indigenous people of the region.

This contention also does not hold water because CAA is not applicable to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered by the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution as well as in areas covered under the “Inner Line” notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

At present, total 10 autonomous districts and territorial councils are functioning in the states of Assam, Mizoram, Tripura, and Meghalaya with the power of legislation and administration over land, water, soil, community forest, agriculture, and village and town management in addition to the administration of tribal or local laws.

States such as Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Manipur, where the Sixth Schedule is not implemented, are covered under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system.

The ILP system offers protection for tribal communities in these states against exploitation by the socio-economically more advanced plains people.

Under the system, any Indian citizen (non-tribal) who wishes to enter these protected areas is required to obtain an ILP, which allows him or her to stay in these states for a specified period subject to stipulated terms and condition.

The exclusion of tribal areas from the ambit of CAA through the provisions of the Sixth Schedule and ILP system means that the socio-economic and cultural interests of the indigenous people of the Northeast are well protected and the illegal immigrants granted citizenship under CAA cannot own land or settle in these areas.

These special provisions have quietened opposition to CAA in most states of the Northeast except in Assam.

Protests are persisting in Assam because of the impression that, by granting citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindu illegal migrants, the Act dilutes the Assam Accord and negates the recently concluded Supreme Court-mandated updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

In response to Assamese concerns, the Centre has stated that CAA does not dilute the sanctity of the Assam Accord as far as the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, is concerned but addresses the concerns of only a few identified minorities on humanitarian grounds. It further promised that the linguistic, cultural, economic and political rights of the Assamese people will be safeguarded.

In fact, in July 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had reconstituted a 12- member high-level committee to examine the effectiveness of the measures taken under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, suggest appropriate levels of reservation of seats in the state legislative assembly and local bodies as well as employment under the state government for the Assamese people, and recommend measures to protect and promote their social, cultural and linguistic identity.

Acceptance and implementation of the recommendations of the committee may assuage the negative feelings of the people of Assam towards CAA.

Of concern, however, is the perceived link between CAA and a nation-wide NRC aimed at rooting out illegal immigrants. The contention of the protesters is that when NRC is implemented, non-Muslims would be able to obtain citizenship under CAA even if they do not produce valid documents, whereas Muslims without documents would be declared illegal migrants and sent to detention centres.

To this, the Home Minister has clarified that there is no connection between the detention centre and NRC or CAA.

MHA has also released a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Act in which it is stated that “the CAA has nothing to do with NRC.”

The efforts of the Centre to allay apprehensions regarding the Act by countering misinformation is a welcome step. A better understanding and appreciation of CAA by the people is expected to reduce opposition to the Act.

The CAA is a humanitarian act and its enactment is in fulfilment of a longstanding demand to provide succour to those minorities who have been compelled to flee due to majoritarian impulses in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The Act, as Prime Minister Modi said, illustrates the Indian culture of acceptance, harmony, compassion and brotherhood.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Originally published by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.inhere.

Pushpita Das

Dr Pushpita Das is Research Fellow and Coordinator of the Internal Security Centre at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi. Her areas of research include border security and management, coastal security, drug trafficking, migration, and India’s Northeast.

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NRC Good For India-Bangladesh Relations

With the Indo-Bangla ties on an upswing, this is the right time to deal with the issue of illegal migration.



The India–Bangladesh relationship is probably going through its best phase. It is one of the few success stories in India’s diplomatic notebook in an otherwise troubled neighbourhood. Both sides have managed to sort out a number of contentious issues. Prominent among them has been the land boundary and the maritime boundary dispute. Both the issues were sorted out to the satisfaction of Bangladesh where India ignored significant losses of territory to nurture the bilateral relationship.

This Indian investment in its relationship with its eastern neighbour has shown result and both sides are now enjoying a period of unparalleled bonhomie, peace and friendship.

However, fears are being expressed that India’s implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), first in the state of Assam and subsequently in the whole country could rock the boat.

While there is no doubt that the implementation of NRC is a complicated issue, but if properly implemented it would make the India-Bangladesh relationship more sustainable.

Even as the bilateral relations are on a strong footing, an oft-expressed fear is that the upsurge in the relationship is regime-specific.

While there is bipartisan support on the Indian side to maintain a friendly relationship with Bangladesh, the same cannot be said about the Bangladeshi side where the political opposition at the first opportunity is likely to take steps that could derail the relationship.

The opposition in Bangladesh has tried its best to convince its interlocutors in India that their attitude has changed. However, it remains to be seen whether it is so.

Generally, it has been pointed out that the Teesta water dispute is the only remaining dispute between India and Bangladesh and its solution would make the bilateral relationship smooth. What is conveniently forgotten is the long-standing issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh.

A report of the Group of Ministers on National Security, submitted in 2001, estimated that post-1971 approximately 12 million Bangladeshis have illegally migrated into various states of northeast India.

However, this number is expected to be much larger if one includes illegal Bangladeshi population residing in other parts of India. Moreover, the Bangladeshis have been illegally coming to India even after 2001.

While it is important for India is to take note of issues that concern Bangladesh, it is equally important for Bangladesh to be sensitive about issues that impact Indian interests. The issue of illegal migration is one such issue. This is something which the Bangladesh Government has to deal with sooner than later in the interest of better bilateral relations. This is necessary to make the government-to-government relationship between the two countries more sustainable.

Unfortunately, there appears to be no desire in Bangladesh to solve this issue to mutual satisfaction. In the past, successive governments in Bangladesh have denied the very existence of this problem. One of the country’s top diplomats had once even said that if Bangladeshis would have to illegally immigrate, they would rather swim to Italy than walk into India. The total denial of such a phenomenon only hardens sentiments in India over the issue.

It is true that Bangladesh’s economy has seen unprecedented growth, which has been growing at a rate of almost eight per cent last few years. While this has helped in improving the living standards of people in some parts of Bangladesh, a large part of the country still remains poor. These poor people can’t afford the cost of illegally immigrating to Italy. Ironically, only the relatively better-off people are trying to illegally immigrate to Europe. Most of the poor ones simply walk into India. This was clearly highlighted when some illegal migrants were recently deported from Karnataka.

Illegal immigration from Bangladesh, comprising both Hindus and Muslims, is an important issue from the national security perspective of India.

A large number of Bangladeshi immigrants are illegally living in India. Hindus are said to have migrated after facing religious persecution, whereas most of the Muslim migrants are termed as economic migrants.

The issue was further complicated sometime back when the Rohingya refugees originally from Myanmar started infiltrating into India through Bangladesh. It was suspected that the Bangladeshi authorities were consciously pushing these refugees into India. Some observers feel that Bangladesh probably hoped that the presence of Rohingyas in India would force India to take Bangladesh’s side against Myanmar. Moreover, Dhaka could also get rid of the thousands of Rohingyas living on its territory.

That minorities face violence and religious persecution in Muslim-majority countries in India’s neighbourhood like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, is well known. They are often dispossessed of their land and property and on many occasions even forced to convert. Their womenfolk are abducted and married off after converting them. Unfortunately, no international condemnation is expressed on these issues.

According to a Dhaka University professor Abul Barakat, from 1964 to 2013, around 11.3 million Hindus left Bangladesh due to religious persecution and discrimination.

This means on an average, 632 Hindus left Bangladesh each day and 230,612 annually.

This exodus mostly took place during the time of military governments after independence. The properties of the Hindus were taken away during the Pakistan regime describing them as enemy properties and the same were treated by the government after independence as vested property. These two measures have made 60 per cent of the Hindus landless in Bangladesh.

Though the present Sheikh Hasina Government has been trying to reassure the Bangladeshi Hindus, it has not been able to dispel the sense of fear prevalent among the Hindu minority population, which is being subjected to various types of discrimination at the societal level, generating in them the impulse for migration.

The Indian Government has clarified that the issue of NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA are internal to India. The CAA is intended to provide expeditious consideration of Indian citizenship to the persecuted minorities – those who entered into India on or before December 31, 2014 – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. It does not affect the existing avenues which are available to the other communities to seek citizenship. Nor does it seek to strip anybody of citizenship.

According to the Indian Home Ministry, nearly 4,000 people from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have been given Indian citizenship in the past six years. This includes as many as 2,830 people from Pakistan, 912 from Afghanistan and 172 from Bangladesh. Out of this number, close to 600 people are Muslims who have been given Indian citizenship.7 Such migrants will continue to get Indian citizenship if they fulfil eligibility conditions.

As the India-Bangladesh relationship is currently strong and trust levels on both sides are high, this is the right time to deal with the issue of illegal migration.

Bangladesh has already documented its citizens and maintains a biometric record of them. The National Identity Registration Wing (NIDW) was created within the Bangladesh Election Commission for that purpose. The country has now also distributed machine-readable smart national identity (NID) cards among 10 crore citizens, replacing the earlier paper-laminated cards. India too is justified in undertaking a similar exercise. This will help India get a grip on the problem.

Once the documentation of citizens is done in India, both sides can share their database. This will help manage the problem in a much more amicable manner.

The Bangladeshis often claim that their citizens are killed on the border by the Indian paramilitary forces. The documentation of citizens on both sides will also help in handling this contentious issue.

The issue of illegal migration in the India-Bangladesh relationship cannot be swept under the carpet. It will continue to be a stumbling block in the sustenance of a stable relationship. It will be better if both sides look at the issue dispassionately especially when the trust levels are high.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Originally published by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.inhere.

Dr Anand Kumar

Dr Anand Kumar is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi. His areas of specialization at IDSA are Counter-terrorism, South Asian politics, Bangladesh, Maldives, Proliferation of Small Arms and Low-intensity conflicts.

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Census India 2021, The World’s Largest Enumeration Exercise, To Begin On April 1

National Population Register (NPR) will be carried out along the house listing phase of the census.



NEW DELHI: The 16th Indian Census will begin on April 1 this year for which the Government of India has decided to move away from the traditional pen and paper to a digital method by using an android based mobile application. A total of 33 lakh enumerators, the persons who conduct door-to-door counting, would be mobilised for data collection for which notification has already been issued.

The Registrar General and Census Commissioner Vivek Joshi said in a notification that the (census) officials have been instructed to ask as many as 31 questions from every household during both house-listing and housing census exercises.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 17A of the Census Act, 1948 (37 of 1948), the central government hereby extends the provisions of the said Act, for the conduct of a pre-test of the Census of India, 2021.

The pre-test shall be conducted from August 12, 2019, to September 30, 2019, in all the states and the Union Territories,” Joshi said in a notification.

For the first time in the 140-year history of the census in India, data is proposed to be collected through a mobile app and enumerators would be encouraged to use their own phone.

The notification, however, made it clear that the mobile number will be sought only for census-related communications and not for any other purpose.

In the first phase, house listing operations would be conducted in any two months chosen by the states between April and September in 2020.

In the second phase, actual population enumeration would be done during February 9 28, 2021, followed by the revision round from March 1 5, 2021

As with the previous editions, the enumerators will be visiting households to seek information from the citizens of the country about the number of television sets, vehicles they own, mobile number, about the number of toilets in their homes, internet services, etc.

The numerators will ask whether the head of the household belongs to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe or Other category, ownership status of the census house, number of dwelling rooms exclusively in possession of the household, number of married couple(s) living in the household, main source of drinking water, availability of drinking water source and main cereal consumed in the household.

Questions related to the main source of lighting, whether the family has access to a toilet, the type of toilet, wastewater outlet, availability of bathing facility, availability of kitchen and LPG/PNG connection and main fuel used for cooking will also be asked by the enumerators, the notification said.

The government has set a target of September 30 this year for the Census to be completed with as many as 31 questions from every household to be asked and filled up by the enumerators during both the house listing and housing phase of the census.

The usual list of residents of the country, National Population Register (NPR) will be carried out along the house listing phase of the census.

The reference date of the Census for Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh will be October 1, 2020, while for the rest of India the date will be March 1, 2021.

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