Social Issues Current Affairs

India ranks 116 out of 157 nations on 2017 SDG index

India has been ranked low 116 out of 157 nations on the 2017 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Index and Dashboard report released by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Bertelsmann Stiftung.

The index assesses the performance of countries towards achieving the ambitious SDGs. It ranks countries based on their performance across the 17 SDGs.

Key Highlights of 2017 SDG Index and Dashboard report

Top Countries in 2017 SDG Index: Sweden (1st), Denmark (2nd), Finland (3rd), Norway (4th), Czech Republic (5th), Germany (6th), Austria (7th), Switzerland (8th) and Slovenia (9th).United States was ranked 42nd on the Index, Russia and China ranked 62nd and 71st respectively.

It shows that the countries which are closest to fulfilling the objectives of the goals are not the biggest economies but comparably small, developed countries.

India’s performance: India with a score of 58.1 was ranked 116th on the index, behind countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and China. Pakistan was ranked 122. In 2016, India was ranked 110th.

Global Scenario: Rising trend of nationalism and protectionism is impeding the implementation of the goals and industrialised countries are not serving as role model in the implementation of the goals. Many of the richest countries in the world are nowhere near achieving objectives of goals but also deteriorating the implementation process for poorer countries because of negative spillover effects.

Need for urgent action: The report calls for urgent need for action on the part of G20 countries in making sustainable development goals a reality both within and beyond their borders. All countries must take up the goals as part of their national development strategies if the SDGs are to be achieved globally.

About Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The SDGs are the set of 17 non-binding goals featuring 169 targets to be implemented from 2015 to 2030. They were adopted by member countries of United Nations at the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Summit held in New York. These goals intend to achieve sustainable development and are more comprehensive than earlier Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

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President gives assent to Maharashtra Social Boycott Bill

President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2016.

Maharashtra is the first state in the country to formulate a law to punish social boycott. The presidential assent paves the way for the state to strictly enforce the law to deal with the scourge of social boycott with an iron hand.

Background

In a progressive state like Maharashtra, which has a glorious legacy of social reforms in recent times had witnessed an increasing number of incidents of social boycott and violence at the orders of caste panchayats. To overcome legal lacunae and ineffectiveness of earlier laws, state legislature had passed Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2016 in April 2016. The purpose of new law is to root out oppression carried out in name of social boycott by parallel justice delivery system (kangaroo court) by citing age old traditions, caste and religious practices.

Salient features of the Bill

The Bill terms social boycott as a crime and says anybody indulging in it would face imprisonment maximum upto 3 years and a fine of 1 lakh rupees or both. It disallows social boycott of any individual or groups by caste panchayats or groups of individuals or gavki or by its members or by social or economically influential persons.

Persons involved in practice of social boycott for reasons like rituals of worship, inter-caste marriage, any connection to lifestyle, dress or vocation will face stringent punishment. The offence registered under the act will be congnizable and bailable. It will be tried by a judicial magistrate of the first class.

The victim of social boycott or any member of the victim’s family can file a complaint either to police or directly to the magistrate. The bill has indicated speedy trial within six months of filing chargesheet in such cases in order to ensure time-bound results.

The Bill mandates state government to recruit social boycott prohibition officers to ensure monitoring and to detect offences and assist the magistrate and police officers in tackling such cases.

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