A grassroots approach to pursuing SDGs

The 2022 UN report on SDGs focuses once more on the progress and challenges for attaining inclusive progress and improvement, once more. Seventeen SDGs, adopted in 2015, marked a paradigm shift within the improvement agenda.

India has whole-heartedly accepted, engaged and progressed with the thought of SDG implementation on the coverage stage. This is clear by the well timed submission of Voluntary National Reviews of 2017 and 2020 and adoption of SDG Index.

With the 2030 deadline approaching, there was a world shift in direction of the ‘localisation’ of SDGs. Localisation course of not solely recognises the sub-national contexts of setting of targets to figuring out the technique of implementation but additionally presents customised options. Thus, two questions come up.

First, can and will the SDG agenda percolate down to the native stage, thereby making planning/ coverage formulation, a ‘bottom-up’ course of? If sure, then what are the potential challenges on the institutional, expertise and implementation stage?

India has already initiated the ‘localisation’ course of with the implementation of TADP (Transformation of an Aspirational District Programme) in 2018. SDG localisation takes it from district to the Gram Panchayat (GP) stage. The preparation for a Local Indicator Framework (LIF) at GP stage is already in course of the place 9 themes have been designed subsuming 17 SDG, Kerala being a front-runner.

Despite the LIF being in place, a lot stays to be desired as was evident from our discipline visits to two Village Panchayats (VPs) within the aspirational district of Virudhunagar in Tamil Nadu. The challenges vary from lack of understanding and coordination to lack of use of expertise and a streamlined institutional framework. One heartening commentary is that the specified foundational framework already exists and a mission-mode intervention led by a ‘Whole of Government’ approach is required.


For localisation on the village stage, handholding from the district is a should. One, there’s a want to unfold consciousness among the many lots and sensitise the elected representatives (ERs) on the village and district stage, for which the native tradition’s mushy energy should be harnessed.

There can be a necessity to conduct consciousness classes on how VPs can generate their very own assets. For occasion, fallow lands could also be transformed into parking heaps, neighborhood halls, nurseries for plan saplings.

Further, workshops with multilateral improvement establishments like UNDP, block and district stage administration, SHGs will show benficial. For coaching ERs, standardised institutional module coaching finalised on the State stage, could also be supplied by way of devoted coaching institutes like KILA in Kerala. Finally non-public sector additionally should be roped in — SBI’s village adoption and macro-based Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana could be a template.

Our discipline visits revealed there may be want to streamline the institutional framework. Inspite of an present institutional skeleton, as arrange below Mission Antyodaya, a lot stays to be desired. The Village Panchayat Development Plans (VPDPs), that are to be concretised below by a “facilitator” as per Mission Antyodaya, are made utilizing a ‘ticking the field’ approach due to lack of company to them. The contextualisation of planning to native wants is lacking due to the tied nature of funds.

We advocate a four-tiered institutional construction to interact all key stakeholders. At the village stage, an SDG Cell consisting of political and everlasting govt, line departments, and leaders with mass attain, can guarantee coordination, want evaluation and theme choice, and consciousness technology, thereby guaranteeing integration of SDGs with VPDPs.

The coordination amongst these members could also be ensured by the ‘facilitator’. These Cells could also be introduced collectively by a block-level nodal officer. A District Cell and Project Director of Institution Formation and Capacity Building could be arrange to coordinate the efforts at village and block stage guaranteeing vertical integration in planning. Finally, a State Level Steering Committee headed by Chief Secretary with officers from Planning Departments, Capacity Training institutes and different key departments, ought to be arrange.

The closing spice within the recipe is to create a dashboard that fetches knowledge from block stage knowledge feeding centres on LIFs. This dashboard will probably be a repository of data and in addition incentivise VPs to carry out by way of identification of mannequin GPs, assessment, recognition and documentation of excellent work.

Jain is Assistant Director, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare; and Khan is Assistant Director, Ministry of Finance


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