Sustaining a high growth trajectory will be a challenge following the Covid-19 pandemic, however, India is revisiting existing business models in a post- Covid-19 world and exploring ways of developing relevant sectors of infrastructure and industry, such as the pharmaceutical and health equipment sector, Niti Aayog has said in its report to the United Nations.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s response includes a USD 279 billion economic package, comprehensive health coverage for front-line workers and direct cash transfers for the most vulnerable, including unemployment protection for job losses, and income support through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, it said.
The apex planning body presented India’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) titled Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local on the implementation of the SDGs before the United Nations (UN). VNR serves as a basis for an international review of the SDGs progress.
India is a signatory to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and participates in the international review. The VNRs are presented at the UN’s High-Level Political Forums (HLPF), which have met annually since 2016. India submitted its first VNR in 2017.
“Given the uncertainty in the global economy, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic, sustaining a high growth trajectory will be a challenge for India, as it will be for all nations across the world. However, the success of the economic growth strategy in the past five years and the learnings from the same will inform India’s growth plans for the next ten years,” the report said.
“While the Covid-19 pandemic has put forth severe breaks on the momentum of global economic growth, India is fast exploring ways of developing relevant sectors of infrastructure and industry, such as the pharmaceutical and health equipment sector. It is also revisiting existing business models in a post- Covid-19 world by aggressive adoption of Artificial Intelligence and technology based products and services in education, health and financial services, among others,” it added.
Niti Aayog also said developed countries have an intrinsic obligation to provide financial assistance to the developing countries, especially for global public goods such as climate change mitigation and control of pandemics, such as Covid-19.
The report states integrated health labs in all districts including block level labs and public health units will need to be set up to deal with future pandemics adding that there should also be an increase in public health infrastructure.
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar in his opening remarks said Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to plans and timelines for 2030 agenda on SDGs. “While we take satisfaction in our accomplishments, we are well aware of the arduous path ahead. Ours is a young population with rising aspirations. Fulfilling these aspirations of nearly 1.3 billion people, from different social, economic and cultural backgrounds is a daunting challenge. The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up several challenges. These will be addressed in the shortest possible time,” he said.
The transformation the world is striving for, is not only policy or programme-based, but also behavioural and social, which, looking back at history, had taken decades to accomplish. However, we must remind ourselves that we do not have the luxury of time. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to plans and timelines. Therefore, we have every reason to double or triple our efforts for achieving the targets of the Agenda 2030,” he added.
India will for first time include marginalised groups as key focus areas in assessing the impact of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) second Voluntary National Review, Hindustan Times had reported in January.
The VNR report also highlights policy interventions for the LGBTQIA+ community. “The recent legislations in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community in India have no doubt been pivotal in addressing the exclusion issues of the community, yet, how the recognition of these rights are harmonised in different public systems, including data collection and enumeration, remains to be seen and will determine the way forward. Multifarious social challenges including and not limited to discrimination and stigma will not only require interventions by the state but also active involvement of the civil society and markets,” it noted. – Hindustan Times