The Karnataka Chief Secretary has formally lodged a complaint with NITI Aayog for what he perceives are low scores given to the state on various Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators.
Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar wrote to Niti Aayog pointing out 14 specific discrepancies in the SDG India Index Report 2019.
Karnataka's score dropped in poverty, hunger, quality education and industry, innovation and infrastructure goals in the 2019 report. The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals designed by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action against poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030.
Chief Secretary Vijay Bhaskar highlighted 'inherent contradictions' in the selection of SDG indicators. "In SDG-9 the goal is titled as Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, but there is no specific indicator on Innovation. India Innovation Index-2019 was published by NITI Aayog and Karnataka topped the list, but the same is not reflected in SDG India Index," reads the letter by the Chief Secretary.
Similarly, he points out that 'manufacturing employment as a proportion of total employment' is taken as an indicator for industrial growth. "However, this indicator undermines the importance of services sector which is a bigger contributor to total employment compared to manufacturing sector. Hence, this indicator needs to be modified accordingly," reads the letter.
Karnataka wants Niti Aayog to observe the progress made in central and state schemes that have the same result.
It is documented in the SDG India Index Report 2019 that Karnataka has 19.9% of eligible population receiving social protection benefits under the maternity scheme. The state's health department report however tells a different story. In 2019, 83% of the eligible population had received the benefits.
The Chief Secretary also pointed out that the examples of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana because the state runs schemes that serve the same purpose of improving roads and housing in rural areas.
He further argues that the Karnataka was wrongly shown as having only 28.1% of households covered by health schemes or insurance in the years 2018 and 2019. He states that even though the estimates remained constant over the two years, the state had made progress in addressing the issue through the Ayushman Bharat Arogya Karnataka (ABRK) scheme. "I would like to point out that our state covers 100% health Assurance to all BPL as well as APL families under the health assurance model Ayushman Bharat Arogya Karnataka (ABRK) scheme," reads the letter.