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India has taken a giant leap forward towards an all-around improvement of development goals and indicators for rural India.
Signaling its unwavering support to redefine the rural landscape as a beacon of development action, the Government is all set to redesign the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA), a Centrally-sponsored scheme to assist rural India in meeting key targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The redesigned RGSA, which will be implemented from April 1 this year to March 31, 2026, will concentrate on improving the governance capabilities of Panchayati Raj institutions.
In a show of highest-level commitment to inclusive development articulated through the implementation of the global development goals at the village level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the meeting of the Union Cabinet that approved the extension of the revamped RGSA.
“The scheme’s implementation and monitoring activities will be broadly aligned with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs). Panchayats serves as the focal point for all developmental activities and the implementation of schemes from various Ministries/Departments and the State Government to achieve the SDGs,” according to a Cabinet statement. The scheme, worth ₹₹5,911 crores, aims to empower 2,78,000 Panchayati Raj institutions, or elected rural local governments, to implement a set of social goals deemed necessary for sustainable development by the United Nations. The Central share of the total financial outlay is ₹3,700 crore, while the states’ share is ₹2,211 crores. Sub-national governments hold the key to India’s quest for sustainable development. India’s states and Union Territories are already contributing substantially to the country’s journey towards attaining the SDGs, given their Constitutionally-mandated role in delivering developmental schemes and programs to the people.
Examples of localization of SDGs led by sub-national governments are emerging from various parts of India. Their experiences offer valuable lessons that deserve wide dissemination. The Government of India’s strong commitment to inclusive development is reflected in its work to electrify rural households, ensure that girls go to school and stay in school, provide sanitation and housing for all, equip young people with skills to compete in the global labor market, enable access to finance and financial services, and more.
Home to one-sixth of humanity, India is one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies and has successfully lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty through some of the world’s largest social programs.
The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015, is a set of 17 targets that require urgent action by all member countries. The first goal is to eradicate all forms of poverty by 2030.
The Cabinet-approved revamped scheme focuses on SDGs in nine areas. Poverty-free villages with improved livelihoods; child-friendly villages; water-sufficient villages; clean and green villages; self-sufficient infrastructure in villages; socially secure villages; villages with good governance and engendered development in villages.
Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is the largest Government health protection scheme in the world, entitling 500 million Indians to an annual health protection coverage of approximately $7,100.
India is aiming to achieve the goal to eliminate tuberculosis (with poor people more at risk) by 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030.
Considering that in India over 60 million people fall below the poverty line on account of out-of-pocket health expenditures, these initiatives will go a long way in reducing inequality. To eliminate malnutrition by 2022, the Government launched Poshan Abhiyan, a national nutrition mission for children and women.
The program recognizes the interconnectedness of nutrition with other aspects such as water, sanitation, hygiene, mother’s education, poverty, and thereby ensures that all the above services converge on
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