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SDG India Index and Dashboard: Shimla

Shimla was ranked highest in the first Sustainable Development Goals Urban Index released by NITI Aayogi. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and Dashboard 2020-21 are an outcome of the association between NITI Aayog and Germany's International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It strives to center SDGs in cities. It ranks 56 urban areas on 77 SDG indicators across 46 targets of the SDG framework and will facilitate examining of the SDGs at the city levelii.

The SDGs incorporate all the major growth spheres, including education, well-being, sanitation, infrastructure, energy, and environment, and establish time-bound objectives to accomplish them. From an international outlook and in its purpose, the necessity for India to attain these objectives remains compelling. Notable advancement has already been made crosswise in past years, and the growth rate is being regulated in an evidence-backed manner to fulfil the SDGs.

Sustainable

Following the federal structure, the Indian states and union territories (UTs) are the fundamental promoters of the SDG action plan. NITI Aayog, as the nodal organization for SDGs, has endeavored to render the needed confidence and assistance to build collective impetus amongst them. Since 2018, the SDG India Index and Dashboard have effectively brought SDGs distinctly and purposefully into the policy arena in the states and UTs. The Index has assuredly, become the mainframe tool to regulate the advancement of the states and UTs and offer inputs for evidence-driven progress concerning the fulfilment of SDGs while investing an enormous sense of contention among the sub-national constituents. Aligning the level of development in a relative setting, the two of the Index and Dashboard, launched in 2018 and 2019, have facilitated recognition of concerns and influenced policies and interpositions that could be a foundation of solutions. It has emphasized gaps in the national and sub-national analytical systems and set much-needed pressure on vigorous SDG examining and evaluation at the national and sub-national levels of governance. Upholding the corresponding route, the newest publication of the SDG India Index strives to feature the successes so far and show the extent remaining to the defined objectives that command the fundamental focus of all levels of government in this Decade of Action. The Index Report and Dashboard, now a yearly practice, have developed to become the nation's authorized and prime tool for SDG monitoring at the national and sub-national levels owing to its procedural robustness, inclusivity by assuring dynamic participation of union offices and state governments and transparent methodiii.

Shimla is the hill city and capital city of Himachal Pradesh. It meets its urban administration problems that are distinct from those in traditional plain terrains. For instance, Shimla is deficient in land resources that are crucial for urban growth. Thus, resource efficiency is the solution to securing the city’s sustainable development. The Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) presented a smart city plan in June 2017 under the Smart Cities Mission that the Ministry of Urban Development allowed.

To foster sustainable urban development in the city, the SMC and the Himachal Pradesh government have adopted necessary policy reforms and new policy recommendations in the last decade. Some of which includeiv:

  • Water conservation: As part of the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Rules, 2009, a slope of two-thirds of the roof stretch to support rain harvesting has been mandated.
  • Application of renewable energy: A solar master plan for the city has been developed by the Ministry of Renewable Energy. The Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Rules, 2009 mandated solar passive building design in public and government structures. Moreover, the conversion of city streetlights to solar lights is also underway.
  • Parking policy: It is the second state in the country to permit new vehicle registration based on parking availability. Moreover, in need of extensively decreasing traffic congestion, the city is reducing vehicle ownership in overall urban transportation.
  • Protection of the natural ecosystem: Policies such as evading constructing establishments on river sites, a total prohibition on downing trees, cordwood, and coal for heating, and smoking in common areas.
  • Use of alternative energy: A waste to energy plant, in operation since January 2017.
  • Waste management: Prohibition on use of polythene bags in the city.

Hill states have delicate systems which require an expansion path that does not interrupt the environmental equilibrium. Shimla has altered its development plan. Important matters such as energy, waste and water management, land availability, mobility and infrastructure provision are now being addressed. Shimla is tailor-made through innovative city resolutions, good governance, smart technology, and active civic involvement. This is assisting in bringing in the much-needed alteration towards sustainable development.

This has been co-authored by Kanika Verma and Bhakti Jain.