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India played a prominent role in the formulation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and much of the country’s National Development Agenda is mirrored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The progress of the world to meet the SDGs largely depends on India’s progress. However, with 17 Goals, 169 Targets and 306 National indicators, the SDGs might be difficult to grasp and understand, and defining and measuring success poses a challenge.


While countries around the world have been considering how to implement and measure success against the Goals, NITI Aayog has taken the lead by bringing out the SDG India Index – Baseline Report 2018, and showing how SDGs will be measured in India. The NITI Aayog released the Baseline Report of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index, which comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets.




NITI Aayog has constructed the SDG India Index spanning across 13 out of 17 SDGs (leaving out Goals 12, 13, 14 and 17). The Index tracks the progress of all the States and Union Territories (UTs) on a set of 62 National Indicators, measuring their progress on the outcomes of the interventions and schemes of the Government of India. The SDG India Index is intended to provide a holistic view on the social, economic and environmental status of the country and its States and UTs.


The SDG India Index is an aggregate measure which can be understood and used by everyone—policymakers, businesses, civil society and the general public. It has been designed to provide an aggregate assessment of the performance of all Indian States and UTs, and to help leaders and change makers evaluate their performance on social, economic and environmental parameters.  It aims to measure India and its States’ progress towards the SDGs for 2030.


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Key features of SDG India Index, 2018


Guided by MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework and based on consultations with Central Ministries/Departments and States/UTs, NITI Aayog has constructed a list of Sixty two priority indicators for computation of the SDG India Index after extensive discussions with 38 Central Ministries and Departments and States and UTs. Being the baseline report, this report does not consider time series comparison of data. As a result, the SDG India Index tells us where a State/UT currently stands on each of the indicators considered, and will present incremental change in subsequent versions.

features of sdg

The SDG India Index 2018 report provides critical insights on the status of SDGs in the country even though it may not be a comprehensive representation of overall baseline since it is constrained by limited data availability. As data availability improves and new estimation techniques become available, subsequent reports of SDG India Index will become more comprehensive with additional indicators, and also help to measure incremental progress.


Despite these gaps and limitations, the SDG Index can be useful to States/UTs in assessing their starting point on the SDGs in the following ways:

  • Support  States/UTs to benchmark their progress: SDG India Index can help States/UTs to benchmark their progress against the national targets and performance of their peers to understand reasons for differential performance and devise better strategies to achieve the SDGs by 2030. 

  • Support States/UTs to identify priority areas: The SDGs undoubtedly present a very bold agenda. It is clear from this analysis, that several States will face major challenges in achieving the SDGs.  SDG India Index will act as tool to highlight the key areas on which the respective States/UTs need to invest and improve by enabling States/UTs to measure incremental progress. 

  • Highlight data gaps related across SDGs: The preparation of the index has highlighted data gaps related to the SDGs. As highlighted earlier, SDG India Index does not currently cover Goals 12, 13 and 14 largely on account of unavailability of comparable data across States and UTs. Even for basic indicators like Maternal Mortality Ratio, data is not available for States in the North-East and UTs. The stated limitations of this index highlights the need for India to develop its statistical systems at the national and State levels. It highlights the need to increase the capacity and capability of data collection.


Highlights of the SDG India Index, 2018


A composite SDG India Index score was computed for each State and UT of India based on their aggregate performance across 13 of the 17 SDGs. The value of the score indicates the average performance of the State/UT towards achieving the 13 SDGs and their respective targets. The score ranges between 0 and 100 percent. If a State achieves a score of 100 percent, it signifies that the State has achieved the national target set for 2030. On the other hand, if a State achieves a score of 0, it signifies that the State was the worst performer. The higher the score of a State, the greater the distance to target achieved.


Based on the score, the States and UTs were classified into four categories, namely Achiever, Front Runner, Performer and Aspirant. This criteria of classification is as follows:

  • Achiever – when SDG India Index score is equal to 100
  • Front Runner – when SDG India Index score is less than 100 but greater than or equal to 65
  • Performer – when SDG India Index score is less than 65 but greater than or equal to 50
  • Aspirant – when SDG India Index score is less than 50



The SDG India Index 2018 reveals that the States of Kerala and Himachal Pradesh top the list of States and UTs for their aggregate performance towards the Sustainable Development Goals, 2030.

A break-up of SDG India Index score by the component Goals has been shown in the table alongside for each State and UT. The table can be read both horizontally and vertically. Horizontal view helps to gauge a State/UT’s performance across the 13 Goals. The vertical view enables a reader to compare the distance to target achieved by a state/UT relative to other States/UTs. 


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When reading SDG India Index scores within each Goal, leading States/UTs can be identified under each Goal:

  1. Eliminate Poverty: Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Reduce
  2. Hunger: Goa and Delhi Good
  3. Health: Kerala and Puducherry Quality
  4. Education: Kerala and Chandigarh Gender
  5. Equality: Kerala, Sikkim and Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation: Gujarat and Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy: Tamil Nadu and Chandigarh
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: Goa and Daman and Diu
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Manipur and Delhi and Puducherry
  10. Reduce Inequality: Meghalaya, Mizoram, Telangana and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep
  11. Sustainable Cities: Goa, Andaman and Nicobar Island
  12. Land Ecosystem: Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Manipur, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Lakshadweep
  13. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry