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04 Jun, 2021

36 Min Read

NITI Aayog SDG India Index 2020

GS-II : Governance NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog SDG India Index 2020

  • The NITI Aayog launched its index in 2018 to monitor the country’s progress on the goals through data-driven assessment and to foster a competitive spirit among the States and Union Territories in achieving them.
  • It provides holistic view on social, economic and environmental status of India and its State's progress regarding SDGs.
  • Developed by NITI in Collaboration with MoHFW, Global Green Growth India, UN of India.
  • SDG India Index is important for 3 things
    1. States can measure progress regarding targets + strategies;
    2. States can identify priority areas;
    3. They get to know data gaps to develop statistical system of country.
  • The SDG India Index 2020–21, developed in collaboration with the United Nations in India, tracks progress of all States and UTs on 115 indicators that are aligned to MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework (NIF).
  • The 115 indicators incorporate16 out of 17 SDGs, with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17, and cover 70 SDG targets.
  • This is an improvement over the 2018–19 and 2019–20 editions of the index, which had utilised 62 indicators across 39 targets and 13 Goals, and 100 indicators across 54 targets and 16 Goals, respectively.
  • From covering 13 Goals with 62 indicators in its first edition in 2018, the third edition covers 16 Goals on 115 quantitative indicators, with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17.
  • States and Union Territories are classified as below based on their SDG India Index score:
    1. Aspirant: 0–49
    2. Performer: 50–64
    3. Front-Runner: 65–99
    4. Achiever: 100

SDG India Index 2020

  • India saw significant improvement in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean energy, urban development and health in 2020, according to the NITI Aayog’s 2020 SDG Index.
  • However, there has been a major decline in the areas of industry, innovation and infrastructure as well as decent work and economic growth.
  • Although the index shows improvement on the inequality SDGs, the NITI Aayog has omitted key economic indicators used to measure inequality in income and expenditure last year and given greater weightage to social indicators instead.
  • Top scorers: Kerala retained its position at the top of the rankings in the third edition of the index, with a score of 75, followed by Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, both scoring 72.
  • Who is at the Bottom? At the other end of the scale, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst performing States.
  • However, all the States showed some improvement from last year’s scores, with Mizoram and Haryana seeing the biggest gains.
  • Developed by a global consultative process on holistic development, the 17 SDGs have a 2030 deadline.
  • The NITI Aayog Index shows some improvement in the SDG on inequality, but a look at the indicators used to assess this goal shows that the think tank has changed the goalposts.

Thrust on social equality

  • In 2019, the indicators for inequality included the growth rates for household expenditure per capita among the bottom 40% of rural and urban populations, as well as the Gini coefficient — a measure of the distribution of income — in rural and urban India.
  • The 2018 indicators included the Palma ratio, another metric for income inequality.
  • Such economic measures have been omitted from the indicators used for this SDG in the 2020 edition of the Index.
  • Instead, it gives greater weightage to social equality indicators, such as the percentage of women and Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe representatives in State Legislatures and the panchayati raj institutions and the levels of crime against the SC/ST communities.
  • The only economic indicator this year is the percentage of population in the lowest two wealth quintiles.

Source: PIB

VERITAS Mission and DAVINCI+ Mission: NASA Missions on Venus

GS-III : S&T Space

VERITAS Mission and DAVINCI+ Mission: NASA Missions on Venus

  • NASA announced two missions to Venus, Earth’s closest planetary neighbour, as part of its ‘Discovery Program’ that aims to explore and study the solar system.
  • Missions are
    1. The VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) mission will map the surface of the planet, study its geology, and hunt for volcanic activity.
    2. The DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) with its atmospheric probe, called Plus, will study the dense atmosphere of Venus to understand the trigger and evolution of the runaway greenhouse effect active on the planet.
  • The missions are funded for $500 million each and are expected to launch somewhere around 2028-2030.
  • Earth’s twin: Venus is often called Earth’s twin because of similar mass, size, gravity, surface composition and complex atmospheric processes.
  • However, we know much less about it compared to the other planetary neighbour, Mars. This is largely due to it being obscured by an extremely dense layer of atmosphere and clouds.


  • The VERITAS mission will study the planet’s geology with radar, map its entire surface topography in 3D and will try to understand why it developed differently from Earth.
  • It will also study infrared emissions from the surface to map various kinds of rocks.
  • The mission will also seek to understand if any volcanic or tectonic activity is present on the planet currently.
  • It will also try to find out if any active volcanoes are releasing water vapour into the atmosphere, sustaining its greenhouse effect.

DAVINCI+ Mission

  • The DAVINCI+ will measure the atmospheric composition of Venus and its formation and evolution.
  • The mission will also try to determine if the planet held an ocean of liquid water in the past.
  • The mission will return the first high-resolution images of unique surface features known as “tesserae” on Venus, which are akin to the continents on Earth, and suggest the existence of plate tectonics.

Other features

  • The mission’s accompanying Plus probe will drop into the atmosphere, making measurements of noble gas composition in the layers.
  • Venusian atmosphere is richer in noble gases than Earth’s, indicating different means of evolution. The mission will also aim to understand why the atmospheric gases are in a runaway greenhouse effect and what set it in motion.
  • Two smaller technology demonstrator missions will also fly with VERITAS and DAVINCI+.
  • The “ultra-precise” Deep Space Atomic Clock-2 will be tested on VERITAS while the Compact Ultraviolet to Visible Imaging Spectrometer (CUVIS) will fly with DAVINCI+ to make high-resolution UV measurements.
  • The latter is expected to aid the understanding of how large amounts of incoming solar energy and UV gets absorbed by the atmosphere around Venus.

Source: The Print

Black Carbon study by World Bank

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Air Pollution

Black Carbon study by World Bank

About Black Carbon

  • Black Carbon (BC) =It is a Pollutant as well as a GHG. It is a solid particle or aerosol & a component of Particulate Matter.
  • Black carbon consists of pure carbon in several linked forms.
  • It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass (like soot & dust), and is emitted in both anthropogenic and naturally occurring soot.

  • It is short-lived. It is the strongest absorber of sunlight and heats the atmosphere directly. It can upset the monsoon system and disrupt cloudiness.
  • Black Carbon Study by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun: It is not the local sources that are the reason for pollution and receding snowline of the Himalayas but the reason is Black Carbon (Because of Western disturbances). If deposited on snow, it reduces the albedo and accelerates the heating of snow and quickens the melting of glaciers.

Health Impacts

  • Black carbon (BC) is a pollutant known to aggravate breathing disorders.
  • According to a recent study published, BC particles emitted by vehicular exhaust and coal-fired power plants, have been detected on the fetus-facing side of the placenta. This is expected to affect the overall development of the unborn baby.

Other terminologies

  • Brown Carbon: It is the ubiquitous & unidentified component of organic aerosol. The major source is biomass burning (wood). It is a GHG.
  • Blue Carbon: It is the carbon stored & sequestered in a coastal ecosystem like Mangrove forests, seagrass meadows or intertidal marshes.

What is the news?

  • World Bank released a report on Black Carbon titled “Glaciers of the Himalayas, Climate Change, Black Carbon and Regional Resilience”.
  • Black carbon (BC) deposits produced by human activity which accelerate the pace of glacier and snow melt in the Himalayan region can be sharply reduced through new, currently feasible policies by an additional 50% from current levels, a study by World Bank (WB) specialists has said.
  • The research covers the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush (HKHK) mountain ranges, where, the report says, glaciers are melting faster than the global average ice mass.
  • The rate of retreat of HKHK glaciers is estimated to be 0.3 metres per year in the west to 1.0 metres per year in the east. BC adds to the impact of climate change.
  • Full implementation of current policies to mitigate BC can achieve a 23% reduction but enacting new policies and incorporating them through regional cooperation among countries can achieve enhanced benefits, the WB said in the report titled “Glaciers of the Himalayas, Climate Change, Black Carbon and Regional Resilience”.
  • BC is a short-lived pollutant that is the second-largest contributor to warming the planet behind carbon dioxide (CO2). Unlike other greenhouse gas emissions, BC is quickly washed out and can be eliminated from the atmosphere if emissions stop.
  • Unlike historical carbon emissions, it is also a localised source with greater local impact.
  • Some of the ongoing policy measures to cut BC emissions are
    1. Enhancing fuel efficiency standards for vehicles,
    2. Phasing out diesel vehicles and promoting electric vehicles,
    3. Accelerating the use of liquefied petroleum gas for cooking and through clean cookstove programmes, as well as
    4. Upgrading brick kiln technologies.
  • However, with all existing measures, water from glacier melt is still projected to increase in absolute volume by 2040, with impacts on downstream activities and communities.
  • Glacier melt produces flash floods, landslips, soil erosion, and glacial lake outburst floods.
  • Deposits of BC act in two ways hastening the pace of glacier melt:
    1. By decreasing surface reflectance of sunlight and
    2. By raising air temperature, the researchers point out.
  • Specifically, in the Himalayas, reducing black carbon emissions from cookstoves, diesel engines, and open burning would have the greatest impact and could significantly reduce radiative forcing and help to maintain a greater portion of Himalayan glacier systems. More detailed modelling at a higher spatial resolution is needed to expand on the work already completed.
  • Industry [primarily brick kilns] and residential burning of solid fuel together account for 45–66% of regional anthropogenic [man-made] BC deposition, followed by on-road diesel fuels (7–18%) and open burning (less than 3% in all seasons)” in the region.

Source: TH

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