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Where India Stands on Sustainability: a convincing account based on bare facts

Introspection is the best of all things; one can witness and uncover miracles within. At the very minimum, one can expect a better change cropping out of simple attempts at understanding oneself.

And it is okay to doubt oneself from time to time and even, maybe forsake a path one has created for oneself. For one has to believe in the nobility of Truth when one needs to doubt the numbers.

Sustainability and its Determinants:

Referring to an ability of something to maintain or “sustain” itself over time, Sustainability aims to deliver justice to the future generations without smothering the needs of today.

Though sustainability can be attained in almost any sphere one can hope, but there are certain parameters where sustainability is ascertained.

Be it the physical and natural resources or on the limits of environmental degradation or the social justice, all of these shall correspond to a faith that without mending the ways this planet is being run, it will continue to suffer irreparably.

Therefore, the three pillars or determinants for measuring sustainability are: economic, ecological and social, which are even informally known as profits, planet, and people.

Sustainable Development and its Congruence with Sustainability:

Sustainability, as an umbrella term, is composed of Sustainable development, which is a holistic method to achieve the goals of the former.

For example, the SDGs or the 2021 COP goals have their targets pervading in all including poverty, upliftment, affordable energy, inclusive transition, inequality, environmental degradation etc.

India and its sustainability Report Card:

India has displayed a mixture of these attributes ranging from high positives to high negatives, through a variety of sustainability matrices released this fiscal year. Let us scroll each.

Sustainable Development Report 2021: India managed to stand at 120, out of 165 countries.

This happened because of its low performance on poverty, maternal mortality rate, occurrence of undernutrition and even obesity, use of harmful pesticides, air and water quality, decent labor work, unemployment rate, lesser expenditure on research and development etc.

Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2022 has offered India a 10th spot in the list because of its high performance around the curb of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, renewable energy use and cleaner climate policy.

Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI): India retains the third position with an inclusive policy in renewable energy, driven by investments considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and technology reforms making the supply chains efficient more than ever.

Global Climate Risk Index 2021 that depicts the impact and vulnerability of countries from extreme and frequent climate events like storms, floods or heat waves etc. including its economic effect has ranked India as the 7th worst affected country in the world.

As per the statistics, heavy showers alone in India have accumulated a loss of 1,800 lives, affected the lives of 11.8 million people and have caused a staggering loss of $10 billion to the country’s economy.

Human Development Index: given by UNDP (Development Programme), has hosted India at 131 rank. This lies well within the mediocre human development category.

World Air Quality Report 2020 undoubtedly clarifies a bigger limitation to the Indian’s health. As per the report released earlier, with almost 22 of Indian cities competing against top 30 most polluted global cities, has ranked India as the third most polluted country in the world.

The Asian countries rule in this list, first being Bangladesh and second, Pakistan.

World Inequality Report 2022: India rules amongst the most unequal countries of the world, where inequality seems to be increasing exponentially.

This happens against the motives of UN’s SDG 10 that calls for reducing inequality and increasing inclusivity. In India, the top 10% and top 1% hold nearly 57% and 22% of the total national income respectively, whereas the bottom 50% own less than a bare 13% of the country’s wealth.

Freedom in the World 2021: With another blow, India’s status under the same has been downgraded from ‘free’ country to ‘partly free’.

Its score came to be 67, a decrease from 71/100 gained last year because of reckless policies and rhetoric around sedition, contempt of court, internet shutdowns (more than 70% of global shutdown instances in 2020 were in India), crackdown on protesters and even regressive laws against consented interfaith conversions.

Global Hunger Report 2021: India ranked 101 out of 116 countries, with child wasting and stunting beyond par.

World Press Freedom Index: Compiled by a French NGO called Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a French NGO, have placed India at 142 rank in terms of press freedom, out of 180 world nations.

UN World Happiness Report 2021: Mooted by Bhutan, this index provides a holistic approach of a nation’s society and economy.

With its ranks, deteriorating in years irrespective of economic growth, India managed to reach 139th place out of total 149 countries.

This abysmal performance is due to corruption and freedom to make life choices.

While we may know about the current situation we are dealing with or the challenges in years ahead, we know where we have come from. India needs to sustain the threats of climate change, in all respects.

Though the world rankings can provide a wider glimpse, it is up to the citizenry and their leadership to decide and change the very destiny we have designed for ourselves.

About the author

Alaina Ali Beg

I am a lover of all arts and therefore can dream myself in all places where the World takes me. I am an avid animal lover and firmly believes that Nature is the true sorcerer.

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