Article Editorials

Two cheers: On India’s Sustainable Development Goals index score

India betters score in the latest SDG Index, but methodological (प्रणाली संबंधी) tinkering (फेरबदल, इधर-उधर करना) is cause for concern

India’s push (धक्का दें, प्रयास, अभियान, पहल) in the right direction in achieving Sustainable (सतत, चिरस्थायी, दीर्घकालिक) Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean energy (स्वच्छ ऊर्जा), urban development and health has helped it improve its overall SDG score from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2021, according to NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index (सूची, तालिका) 2020-21. Besides (के अलावा, इसके अतिरिक्त) SDGs on eradication (नाश, तबाही, उन्मूलन) of poverty and hunger (भूख, भोजन की आवश्यकता; भुखमरी), measures (उपाय, कार्रवाई, कदम, प्रक्रिया) related to the availability of affordable, clean energy (स्वच्छ ऊर्जा) in particular (विशेष रूप से, ख़ासकर), showed improvements across several States and Union Territories. The campaign to improve the access of households (गृहस्थी) to electricity and clean cooking fuel has been shown to be an important factor. While this is cause for cheer (खुशी का कारण, हंसमुख होने का कारण), the Index reveals that there has been a major decline in the areas of industry, innovation and infrastructure (the basic physical or organisational structure for something (to function properly)) besides decent work and economic growth, again made worse by the lockdowns imposed by the governments seeking (try, aim, attempt) to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. But the stark differences (dissimilarity, contrast, deviation, unevenness, variation) between the southern and western States on the one hand and the north-central and eastern States on the other in their performance on the SDGs, point to (indicate, suggest, denote) persisting (continuing, prolonged, persistent, unrelenting, unending, lingering) socio-economic and governance disparities (imbalance, inequality, unevenness, disproportion). These, if left unaddressed, will exacerbate (intensify, increase, heighten, aggravate, worsen, compound) federal challenges and outcomes, as seen in the public health challenges during the second wave across some of the worse-off (in a difficult situation; in a tight spot; less fortunate/wealthy; beleaguered, troubled, hard-pressed) States.

Notwithstanding the improvement in key indicators (measure, gauge, index, signal), the Index has curiously made some methodological changes that render (make, cause to be, cause to become) comparisons on some SDGs over previous years moot (debatable, doubtful, arguable, disputable, problematic). The SDG on inequality (Inequality is simply defined as “the state of not being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities; imbalance, unevenness, disproportion, disparity) shows an improvement over 2019, but the indicators used to measure the score have changed. The 2020-21 Index drops several economic indicators and gives greater weightage to social equality (fairness, justness, egalitarianism, equal rights/opportunities, non-discrimination) indicators such as representation of women and people from marginalised (treated as insignificant, treated as unimportant, neglected) communities in legislatures (local authority, administration, executive, local government) and local governance institutions, and crimes against SC/ST communities. By dropping the well-recognised Gini coefficient (a statistical measure of economic inequality in a population. The coefficient measures the dispersion of income or distribution of wealth among the members of a population) measure and the growth rate for household expenditure per capita among 40% of rural and urban populations (instead, only the percentage of population in the lowest two wealth quintiles is used), the SDG score on inequality seems to have missed out (fail to add/include something, omit; fail to utilize/take advantage of something) on capturing the impact of the pandemic on wealth inequality. This could be a significant miss (omission, slip, blunder, error, mistake) as a UN assessment of the impact of COVID-19 had said that the South Asian region may see rising inequality. Methodological issues on measuring other SDGs have been flagged (indicate, identify, point out) before, but the lack of adequate measurement of economic inequality seems to be a glaring (obvious, visible, apparent, flagrant, blatant) miss. Like in the first wave, the second wave, with more fatalities, has had similar outcomes on livelihoods (means of making a living with the basic necessities (food, water, shelter and clothing); means of support, subsistence, source of income) and jobs. While the better score for India in its endeavour (activity, pursuit; aim/effort) to achieve SDGs will bring some cheer, governments must work on addressing (tackle, deal with, attend to, try to sort out) pressing issues such as increased inequality and economic despair (hopelessness, depression, distress, pain).

Courtesy: The Hindu

Important Word List With Meaning

1.sustainable (adjective)

Hindi Meaning – सतत, चिरस्थायी, दीर्घकालिक
English Meaning – reasonable, sensible, well-founded (without disturbing the balance of nature and then without exhausting all of the natural resources)

2.Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (noun)

Hindi Meaning – सतत विकास लक्ष्यों
English Meaning – The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a new, universal set of goals, targets, and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years.

3.index (noun)

Hindi Meaning – सूची, तालिका
English Meaning – an (economic) data figure reflecting something (e.g. price/quantity) compared with a standard or base value; pointer, indicator.

4.methodological (adjective)

Hindi Meaning – प्रणाली संबंधी
English Meaning – relating to method/methodology; systematized, systematic, methodical, organized.

5.tinkering (noun)

Hindi Meaning – फेरबदल, इधर-उधर करना
English Meaning – an act of trying to make some small changes to something amateurishly, in order to improve/repair it; repairing, improving, mending.

6.cause for concern (phrase)

Hindi Meaning – चिंता का कारण
English Meaning – a reason to worry (feel anxious).

7.push (noun)

Hindi Meaning – धक्का दें, प्रयास, अभियान, पहल
English Meaning – effort, campaign, initiative, drive.

8.clean energy (noun)

Hindi Meaning – स्वच्छ ऊर्जा
English Meaning – renewable energy, green energy; energy generated from natural resources (such as water, wind & solar energy).

9.besides (preposition/linking adverb)

Hindi Meaning – के अलावा, इसके अतिरिक्त
English Meaning – apart from, in addition to.

10.eradication (noun)

Hindi Meaning – नाश, तबाही, उन्मूलन
English Meaning – removal, elimination, wiping out.

11.hunger (noun)

Hindi Meaning – भूख, भोजन की आवश्यकता; भुखमरी
English Meaning – need for food; starvation, famine, malnutrition.

12.measure (noun)

Hindi Meaning – उपाय, कार्रवाई, कदम, प्रक्रिया
English Meaning – action, step, procedure. particular (phrase)

Hindi Meaning – विशेष रूप से, ख़ासकर
English Meaning – particularly, specifically, especially.

14.household (noun)

Hindi Meaning – गृहस्थी
English Meaning – family, house.

15.cause for cheer (phrase)

Hindi Meaning – खुशी का कारण, हंसमुख होने का कारण
English Meaning – reason to be cheerful (happy and optimistic).

16.NITI Aayog (noun)

English Meaning – The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1, 2015. NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs. (Thinktank is a panel of experts who provide advice and ideas on political, social or economic issues).

17.infrastructure (noun)

English Meaning – the basic physical or organisational structure for something (to function properly).

18.make worse (phrase)

English Meaning – worsen, aggravate, exacerbate, compound.

19.lockdown (noun)

English Meaning – an emergency protocol implemented by the authorities that prevents people from leaving from a place; An extended state of confinement/encirclement/isolation of a person by the authority.

20.impose (verb)

English Meaning – force, thrust, inflict (an unwelcome decision/ruling). (verb)

English Meaning – try, aim, attempt.

22.pandemic (noun)

English Meaning – the worldwide spread of a new disease; The illness spreads around the world and typically affects a large number of people across a wide area.

23.stark (adjective)

English Meaning – clear, distinct, evident, obvious, striking.

24.difference (noun)

English Meaning – dissimilarity, contrast, deviation, unevenness, variation.

25.on the one hand (phrase)

English Meaning – it is used to introduce the first of two contrasting different, points, facts, or ways of looking at something. It is always followed later by “on the other hand” or ‘on the other’.

26.point to (verb)

English Meaning – indicate, suggest, denote.

27.persisting (adjective)

English Meaning – continuing, prolonged, persistent, unrelenting, unending, lingering.

28.socio-economic (adjective)

English Meaning – relating to the interaction of social (position, rank, or importance) and economic (income, pay, and wealth) aspects.

29.disparity (noun)

English Meaning – imbalance, inequality, unevenness, disproportion.

30.unaddressed (adjective)

English Meaning – unnoticed, not considered, not dealt with, not tackled.

31.exacerbate (verb)

English Meaning – intensify, increase, heighten, aggravate, worsen, compound.

32.federal (adjective)

English Meaning – relating to a system of government in which establishments such as states or provinces share power with a national government.

33.public health (noun)

English Meaning – the branch of medicine handling public health; public health is also the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities through education, policy-making, and research for disease and injury prevention.

34.worse-off (adjective)

English Meaning – in a difficult situation; in a tight spot; less fortunate/wealthy; beleaguered, troubled, hard-pressed.

35.notwithstanding (conjunction)

English Meaning – although, in spite of the fact that, despite the fact that, even though.

36.indicator (noun)

English Meaning – measure, gauge, index, signal.

37.curiously (adverb)

English Meaning – mysteriously, surprisingly, unexpectedly.

38.render (verb)

English Meaning – make, cause to be, cause to become.

39.moot (adjective)

English Meaning – debatable, doubtful, arguable, disputable, problematic.

40.inequality (noun)

English Meaning – Inequality is simply defined as “the state of not being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities; imbalance, unevenness, disproportion, disparity.

41.weightage (noun)

English Meaning – importance, significance, value.

42.equality (noun)

English Meaning – fairness, justness, egalitarianism, equal rights/opportunities, non-discrimination.

43.representation (noun)

English Meaning – participation, involvement, engagement (in something (e.g. legislature) as a representative of somebody (e.g. voters).

44.marginalised (adjective)

English Meaning – treated as insignificant, treated as unimportant, neglected.

45.legislature (noun)

English Meaning – local authority, administration, executive, local government.

46.well-recognised (adjective)

English Meaning – famous, well-known.

47.Gini Coefficient/Gini Index (noun) 

English Meaning – a statistical measure of economic inequality in a population. The coefficient measures the dispersion of income or distribution of wealth among the members of a population.

48.per capita (adverb & adjective)

English Meaning – per person, for each, individually.

49.quintile (noun)

English Meaning – any one group of the five equal group proportions used in statistics; In statistics, a quantile for the case where the sample or population is divided into fifths (five equal groups/classes) based on the distribution of values of a particular variable.

50.miss out (phrasal verb)

English Meaning – fail to add/include something, omit; fail to utilize/take advantage of something.

51.despair (noun)

English Meaning – hopelessness, depression, distress, pain.

52.miss (noun)

English Meaning – omission, slip, blunder, error, mistake.

53.flag (verb)

English Meaning – indicate, identify, point out.

54.lack of (noun)

English Meaning – absence, deficiency, scarcity, dearth.

55.glaring (adjective)

English Meaning – obvious, visible, apparent, flagrant, blatant.

56.fatality (noun)

English Meaning – death, casualty, mortality/loss.

57.livelihood (noun)

English Meaning – means of making a living with the basic necessities (food, water, shelter and clothing); means of support, subsistence, source of income.

58.endeavour (noun)

English Meaning – activity, pursuit; aim/effort.

59.address (verb)

English Meaning – tackle, deal with, attend to, try to sort out.

60.pressing (adjective)

English Meaning – urgent, critical, crucial, important