SDG Report: Only 7 of 56 surveyed cities scored above 50 in Jobs & Economic Growth

As per the SDG report by NITI Aayog, Bengaluru is the only and the best Indian big city for economic growth and jobs.

Bengaluru is cited as the only Indian city to provide decent jobs and ensure economic growth, according to the first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Urban Index by Niti Aayog, the country’s economic think-tank on Tuesday.

Overall, Shimla has ensured sustainable development, as it has topped the index based on 15 parameters while Dhanbad ranked lowest. The hilly capital of Himachal Pradesh has scored 75.5, followed by Coimbatore (73.29), Thiruvananthapuram (72.36), Chandigarh (72.36) and Kochi (72.29).

The coal capital of India, Dhanbad, scored the worst (52.43), Meerut (54.64), Itanagar (55.29), Guwahati (55.79) and Patna (57.29) make up the bottom five. The report compiled is based on 77 indicators across 15 SDGs. These indicators cover the sectors of poverty reduction, nutrition, health, education, women empowerment, water and sanitation, clean energy, economic growth, industry, infrastructure, reduced inequalities, urban development, climate action, forests, and governance.

With a maximum score of 100, a score between 65 and 99 categorises a city as a ‘front-runner’. Cities scoring between 50 and 64 were called ‘performers’, and those scoring below 50 were considered ‘aspirants’, in the SDG report.

Economic growth and jobs

The 15 out of 17 sustainable goals, the 8th one is based on providing decent work and economic growth. It is dependent on 12 targets, including equal pay for equal value, promoting a safe work environment and others.

The Indian think tank has left out two sustainable indicators in the SDG report — life underwater as it is relevant only on coastal areas and partnership for goals for not being relevant.

Of the 15 sustainable goals, the 8th is about providing a decent work environment and economic growth. The particular goal is based on 12 targets that include providing equal pay for equal value, reducing unemployment and promoting a safe work environment.

Bengaluru was the only city of 56 surveyed cities that secured the ‘front-runner’ category with 79. Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur (64) is the second-best city in this particular indicator. It is followed by Uttarakhand’s capital Dehradun (59), and Goa’s capital Panaji (59).  However, they were categorised as performers, far from achieving the goals. Only 13 cities scanned by NITI Aayog in the SDG report had scored above 50.

Except for Bengaluru, most big Indian cities have failed to achieve the targets for this particular goal. Kolkata got just three out of 100 in providing decent jobs and economic growth, the lowest among other big cities in India. The financial capital of India, Mumbai, has scored 17 and so did Bihar’s capital Patna.

National capital Delhi has scored 45, and Chennai has scored 36, all below 50. They are categorised as aspirants. Only seven cities have scored above 50. All big metropolitan cities have failed to score above 50 as the median score of all surveyed cities remains at 38.

Zero Hunger and Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

In the goal-wise assessment of the cities, the real problems faced by Indian cities to achieve the UN-decided SDGs were revealed. After job and economic growth, the second most challenging indicator is – Zero Hunger — according to the SDG report.

A little more than half of the 56 surveyed cities have scored below 50 in the particular indicators. 27 of the 56 cities scored above 50, with Kochi (80), Imphal (73) and Kohima (70) topping the charts. Indore scored the worst (22), followed by Raipur, Kolkata and Varanasi in the Zero Hunger goal.

The ninth goal of the SDGs, Industry, innovation and infrastructure — aimed at “promoting sustainable industrialisation, building resilient infrastructure and fostering innovation” is revealed as the third major problem for India’s cities, with 22 of them scoring below 50 in the SDG report. Under this goal, Surat had the best score of 78 while Kochi tanked the chart.

India achieving sustainable goals

These sustainable development goals are to be achieved by 2030 by member states, said UN. Currently, no country in the world has yet attained them except Finland, Sweden and Denmark, who have achieved about 85 per cent of the goals.

India stands at the 120th position in achieving SDG goals, much behind its neighbours, according to the Sustainable Development Goals Rankings 2021.

China, the strongest competitor, has already achieved 72% of the SDGs, while India has attained only 60% of the goals. Neighbours Bangladesh (63%), Myanmar (65%), Nepal (66%), Sri Lanka (68%), and Bhutan (70%) are all placed ahead of India. Pakistan is the only neighbour lagging behind India.

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