Republic Day in India is celebrated annually on 26th January, marking the anniversary of the country’s transition into becoming an independent republic, with the Constitution officially coming into power, after 20 years of the proclamation of Declaration of Independence in 1930.
However, on this day, as we take pride in being Indians, we must also remember that just like the independence of the country was a long struggle, we must also pledge to fulfill all SDGs in our country with the same spirit and intent, that led us to be independent after a long struggle for freedom.
“Just as our vision behind Agenda 2030 is lofty, our goals are comprehensive. It gives priority to the problems that have endured over the past decades. And, it reflects our evolving understanding of the social, economic and environmental linkages that define our lives… The sustainable development of one-sixth of humanity will be of great consequence to the world and our beautiful planet.”
India as a nation has played an important role in shaping the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that we strive to fulfill today, and it is no surprise that the national development goals of the country mirror the SDGs and are reflected in them too. In fact, India has been committed to the SDGs before they were even fully crystalized!
According to the Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform by the United Nations, India has made significant progress in the following areas:
SDG 1: No Poverty
Focus on SDG 8 ( Decent Work and Economic Growth) to make sure that every household has the purchasing power to access food, clothing, housing, education and health has been a major way to tackle poverty. An important strategy for achieving this goal is to provide meaningful employment to all, and initiatives such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act ( MNREGA), also known as world’s largest cash transfer programme, has generated over 2 billion person-days’ of employment over the past years.
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
SDG 2’s main objective is to ‘End hunger, achieve food security, and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’. The National Food Security Act covers more than 800 million people of the country, and the Public Food Distribution System is the largest food security systems in the world. Other initiatives such as digitalisation of agricultural marketing has also been a contributing factor to achieving this imperative goal.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well- Being
To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, not just increasing access, but also improving the quality of the health services such as Government health facilities, India has taken several initiatives such as the National Health Policy 2017, which include universalized primary health care, reducing infant mortality rate, and increasing Government expenditure on health, have been taken up.
SDG 5: Gender Equality
To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, several important initiatives have been taken up to promote gender equality, such as the flagship event ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ (Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child) which calls for implementing an array of measures suited to their local contexts to improve their status and representation. Women Empowerment Centres, Women Empowerment Campaign, etc have been launched to aid to this cause significantly.
Hence, we have come a long way in becoming a more SDG oriented country. However, we still have a long way to go, and the only way to make this a reality is to inculcate reasonable leadership skills in our youth, and volunteering to make these initiatives even more successful!
Malawika is a Mass Communication student from Delhi. She is an astrophile, passionate about Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan, and loves to listen to the Arctic Monkeys, her favourite band. Find her at her happiest while exploring new cities and justifying her love for the colour orange!