The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has emerged as a ‘front-runner’ in
the third edition of the SDG India Index and Dashboard 2020–21 released by the NITI
Aayog on 3 June 2021. The Index documents and ranks the progress made by States
and Union Territories towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development
Goals.
At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted development progress on
many fronts globally, SDG-focused initiatives and monitoring their progress are more
relevant than ever in order to ‘build-back-better’. In this context, the performance by
Jammu and Kashmir is laudable. 

The Niti Ayog’s SDG India Index and Dashboard is an important tool for
monitoring progress on the SDGs in India. It serves as a policy tool and a ready
reckoner for gauging the progress of States and UTs on the expansive nature of the
SDGs, including health, education, gender, economic growth, institutions, climate
change and environment.
With the strengthening of grass-root level democracy, launch of several new
development initiatives, and the extension of progressive and development-oriented
central legislations to Jammu and Kashmir in recent times, the UT emerged as a ‘frontrunner’, ahead of ‘performers’, in the 2020-21 Index. J&K made special progress on SDG Goal 3 that pertains to the “good health and
well being” of its people. In this goal, the UT improved its composite score by 8 points
from last year. The composite score is the arithmetic mean of the score for the 16
SDGs, for each State/UT, assigning equal weight to each SDG. This score is an indication
of the overall position of the States/UTs in their journey towards achieving the SDGs.
This notable achievement is on account of the multi-pronged strategy adopted by the
government of Jammu and Kashmir for revamping the health sector. This includes an
improvement in health governance, up-gradation of health infrastructure,
improvement in supply chain mechanism and other reforms in the health care delivery
system.
J&K has also been one of the best performing regions in India in terms of
management of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Under-5 mortality in J&K is 23 (per 1000 live births) as compared to the
national average of 36 (per 1000 live births).
J&K and Ladakh lead all UTs in terms of low HIV incidence, with numbers being
as low as 0.02 per 1000 uninfected population. In this context, J&K is closest to achieving the global target of 0 HIV incidence which aims to reduce the spread of the
AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Aside from health, the Niti Ayog’s Index stated that J&K’s performance in 2020-
21 was also excellent in sectors including agriculture production, education, renewable
energy, civic amenities, enhancing forest cover and ensuring gender equality.
J&K was also a ‘front-runner’ with respect to SDG Goal 2 which pertains to ‘Zero
Hunger’ and talks about ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition
and promoting sustainable agriculture’.

In this ‘Decade of Action’ for the UN SDGs, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir has
made significant progress in ensuring that the benefits of development reach everyone
including the most vulnerable, in line with Prime Minister Modi’s vision of “Sabka
Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas”.