Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global effort that has one major objective — achieving a better future for all. To achieve these global and national targets, localisation is a crucial lever. It correlates how local and State governments can support the accomplishments of the SDGs through bottom-up action, and how the SDGs can provide a framework for local policy.
If India is to achieve its goals by 2030, it must build a mechanism for effectively localising the SDGs — one that leverages and integrates the social capital that exists in women’s collectives and with the local self-governance of the Panchayati Raj system. Today, 76 million women have been mobilised into self-help groups (SHGs) under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission and there are 3.1 million elected panchayat representatives. For localisation to truly work, we need to leverage the strength of both these institutions through a partnership.
Undoubtedly, there are inherent challenges associated with involving community institutions like SHGs in developing the Gram Panchayat Development Plan, including human resources, capacities, and disaggregating department budgets. But to truly localise the SDGs, this is the route that ought to be taken within the framework of the Constitution. This action should not form a parallel track, but become a way of reinforcing the institutional capacity of panchayats.
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