ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Demographic and Health Diversity in the Era of SDGs

Despite the progress achieved in demographic and health-related indicators, achieving targets in the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 remains a demanding task. This study acts as a perfect benchmark for monitoring several demographics and health-related indicators in the era of the SDGs. There is a need to advance the right sources of data and cutting-edge tools for measuring and monitoring progress. The efforts to reduce regional disparities in demographic and health-related indicators are hindered by the lack of adequate funding to the programmes and the absence of reliable micro-level evidence-based policy.


The study was generously funded by the United Nations Population Fund, New Delhi. The authors thank P M Kulkarni, Arvind Pandey, Devender Singh, Venkatesh Srinivasan and Sanjay Kumar for their valuable comments. Also, they thank Rakesh Mishra, Moradhvaj and Md Juel Rana for their research assistance. However, none of them are responsible for any errors or for the opinions expressed in this paper.

Demographic and development diversity across regions and states has been a major area of concern for the last several decades in India. Widening regional disparity in the country has attracted wide attention of the policymakers (Kurian 2000). Despite several policies and programmes in place, the relative progress in socio-demographic and public health indicators is still far from satisfactory. The country ranks 130 out of 189 countries considered for the human development index (HDI) of United Nations Development Programme in 2018 (UNDP 2018). Moreover, different states have different levels of socio-demographic and public health achievements. Kumar et al (2010) and Goli (2014) observed considerable inequities in health status and access to healthcare services in the country. They concluded that such inequalities are widening over the period, 1992 to 2006. In the past, there have been several attempts to reduce regional disparities in India. The Aspirational Districts Programme launched by the Government of India in 2018 aims to quickly and effectively transform the laggard districts in different states in terms of health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion, skill development, and basic infrastructure, including road, potable water, rural electrification and individual household toilets to achieve the Sustainbale Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 (NITI Aayog 2018).

In 2015, 193 countries committed to fulfil the SDGs for transforming the world by 2030. For the timely attainment of UN SDGs, strengthening evidence-based policy and practice is critical. The SDGs cannot be achieved without addressing the regional diversity as well. Generating evidence to monitor SDGs is hindered due to the lack of data on various indicators listed under each goal.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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