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Civil Society Report on Sustainable Development Goals: Agenda 2030 - conflict, corruption and discrimination disproportionately affect the poor
Conflict, corruption and discrimination disproportionately affect the poor and marginalised, who are least able to access justice. This is in addition to a general dissatisfaction with public services, the unchecked violence against human rights defenders, and the increasing tension between the majority population and minorities especially the Dalit and Muslim groups.

This were the keen observations of the Civil Society Report on Sustainable Development Goals: Agenda 2030. The report has critically examined India's progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, which was released for the State of Telangana. This is a Civil Society initiative anchored by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA) wherein large number of civil society organizations and networks working on SDGs. This focuses on ten goals and is prepared through secondary research by individuals, academicians and members of civil society from more than fifteen states as well as consultations with local communities, particularly, the marginalized communities.

The main findings from the report on Goal 1: End Poverty highlights that poverty is more than lack of income or resources – it includes social discrimination and exclusion, lack of basic services, such as education, health, water and sanitation, and lack of participation in decision making. Writers point to the recent Credit Suisse report that shows that the richest 1 per cent Indians now own 58.4 per cent of the country's wealth.

According to the chapter on Goal 2: End Hunger, low nutritional status among adolescent girls reveals the gender discrimination that is widely prevalent in India. As per the data of Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC) of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, about 44 per cent of the adolescent girls could be classified as severely thin. This prevalence increases further when we look at socially excluded groups like Scheduled Castes (46.4 per cent) and Scheduled Tribes (45 per cent).

The chapter on Goal 3: Good Health points out that out of the total expenditure on health in India, 62.4 per cent is borne out of pocket. It is a disproportionate burden on the poor and the marginalised. India does not yet explicitly recognise a national minimum social security cover. Health spending by the Central government remains at only 0.3 per cent of the GDP out of a total 1.3 per cent of GDP spent by the states and Centre together.

The Union Budget has ignored effective implementation of the Right to Education, says the chapter on Goal 4: Quality Education. There is only a meagre increase in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan's budget – by Rs 1,000 crores – and is far from helping the meaningful implementation of the Act and achievement of SDG 4.

The chapter on Goal 5: Gender Equality remarks that the women in the reproductive age are undernourished and over 53 per cent are anaemic (NFHS-4 reports). There are only 12 per cent women parliamentarians in India. Reservation of 33 per cent for women in the government has improved representation of women in urban and rural areas, but their voice and participation remain tethered. Caste and cultural practices in the society add layers to discrimination among women. Dalit women face systemic and structural discrimination as they are Dalits, poor, and women.

Findings from the chapter on Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation show that despite the implementation of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme and several programmes run by the government around river development and rejuvenation of Ganga River in India, there are still 76 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water in India today.

The chapter on Goal 10: Reduce Inequality highlights that India is one of the most unequal countries, according to the Global Wealth Report. P20 initiative which aims to track the progress of the poorest 20 per cent globally in their attainment of SDGs has highlighted that of the 1.4 billion people in this group globally, over one third are in India. Gender inequalities have curbed progress of women in India, while caste has played an important role in exclusion of a community which consists of more than 201 million people in the country.

The chapter on Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities points out that while the government has formulated policies, developed missions and programmes aimed at ensuring universal access to housing and basic services, a significantly large proportion of the urban population continues to be homeless or lives in under-serviced and low quality housing in settlements referred to as "slums". Some urban development programmes have made provisions for inclusion of the marginalised groups while others have clauses that result in leaving out some of them.

According to the chapter on Goal 13: Climate Action, there has been significant progress on mitigation (enhancing efficiency, avoiding emissions, and move towards renewable energy). However, in its pursuit to energy for all, India needs to prioritise principles of justice and equity over affordability. India's high vulnerability profile also calls for equal attention on adaptation, enhancing resilience, reducing loss and damage, and incorporating community based disaster risk reduction approaches sensitive to special needs of the victims. Also as far as the local governments are concerned, they have almost no role in managing climate change and disasters.

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