Recognising the great beneficial impacts of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health, prosperity and wellbeing of every citizen of Assam and also on conservation of the State’s unique bio-diversity, on 1st January’ 2016, Government of Assam launched “Assam 2030 Initiative” towards achieving SDGs by issuing a Government Order & involving media publicity. As an initial act of commitment from the State, Planning & Development Department was made the nodal department. Thereafter ten Working Groups were formed for convergence to plan for achieving SDGs/targets within the stimulated time period.
Government of Assam established a Centre for SDGs at Assam Administrative Staff College, Khanapara, Guwahati. With expert views and guidance of subject matter specialists like Shri Anurag Goel, IAS (Rtd) and Dr Shiladitya Chatterjee, IAS (Rtd.), the Centre is functioning as knowledge hub of SDGs for the State and is responsible for providing guidance to the Departments of the State on matters related to SDGs. In collaboration with Planning & Development Department, the Centre is guiding the Departments in developing the framework for planning towards achieving the SDGs and in devising a monitoring mechanism for the same. The Centre is also organising SDGs related training and capacity building measures through holding of Seminar, workshops, discussions etc of the State.
Sensitisation, Training and Capacity Building
Initially, sensitisation as well as capacity building of government officials was carried out through a series of workshops and conferences involving civil societies, academicians, corporate, bureaucrats and other stakeholders from January to May, 2016. During April and May, 2016, a series of 21 structured presentations involving all Departments of Government of Assam were held to sensitise the Departments for making goal wise SDGs plan.In addition, the Centre for SDGs conducted six nos. of 2-3 days duration training courses on SDGs for officers of the different Departments of the Government of Assam.In the meantime, the P&D Department, Finance Department and Centre for SDGs in collaboration with Centre for Innovations and Futures Studies and UNDP, organised one 2-Days “Innovation Lab” on 3rd and 4thOctober, 2016. The major focus of this program was to generate thinking process for finding out innovative ways to implement the flagship program of Government viz. CMSGUY (Chief Minister’s Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana) in line with the SDGs. The major focus of the CMSGUY mission is to double the farm income of all farmers by 2022 in the state.
UNDP & its associate agencies and OKD Institute of Social Change & Development are currently consulted by the State for initiating collaborative activities towards planning and monitoring of SDGs in the State. Government of Assam has also planned for forging partnership with academic institutes, industries and civil societies for achieving inclusive development through successful implementation of the sustainable development plans of the State.
The first vision agenda of Government of Assam, “Vision Assam 2030” was prepared in February, 2016. Subsequently, as desired by NITI Aayog,Government of Assam,with inputs from the experience and feedback gained in the deliberations made with multiple stakeholders including implementing Departments, has prepared an updated SDGs vision document “Assam 2030: Our Dreams, Our Commitment”. This document was formally submitted to NITI Aayog on 20th August’2016 and was unveiled by Hon’ble Chief Minister, Assam on 3rd of October 2016.
The Government through the Centre for SDGs carried out the mapping of Assam Budget (2016-17) Highlights in respect of the Sustainable Development Goals and found that the budget is SDGs centric. Based on the detailed deliberations in presence of Chief Secretary, Assam on 26th of September 2016, a format for determining current budget allocation to SDG targets has been circulated to the Departments, which shall form the input document in preparation of Outcome Budget-2017-18.
Indicators of SDGs
Government of Assam has been working on identification and determination of core development indicators and benchmarks for sustainable development targets. A set of 52 State-specific Core Indicators have already been identified. An exercise for finalisation of the “Core Indicators for Sustainable Development Goals and Targets for Assam” in line with the National Indicators is under progress. Government of Assam has also started the initiative for maintaining updated database of all the indicators for timely monitoring purpose.
Chapter on SDGs in Assam Economic Survey Report
Government of Assam has decided to incorporate, a chapter on SDGs with core indicators, targets and benchmarks in the Economic Survey (Assam) Report for the year 2016-17. The Centre for SDGs in partnership with OKD Institute and the Directorate of Economics & Statistics under guidance of Dr.Shiladitya Chatterjee, IAS (Rtd.), Honorary Advisor to the Centre is working on the report.
7-Year Strategic Plan and 3-Year Action Plan
Preparation of 7 years Strategic Plan and 3 years Action Plan (SPAP) as desired by NITI Aayog is under progress for which the Departments are following the Guidelines and list of Tentative Core Indicators specific to state developed by Government of Assam. Department-wise initial consultations on the SPAP were held from 21st October to 31stOctober, 2016 and then 17th to 19th November,2016. The final round of consultation is presently being carried out with the Departments, based on which, the 7-Year Assam Development Agenda and 3-Year Assam Action Plan shall be finalised and will be submitted to NITI Aayog.
Strategy Support Group
The Chief Secretary has recently constituted a SDGs Strategy Support Group. This group of volunteers comprises of officers passionate about implementation of SDGs, cutting across Departments and their formal responsibilities. This Group will support the Chief Secretary and the Departments in multiple ways to catalyse implementation of SDGs as a Single Synergised Holistic Initiative (SSHI), as also create and sustain energy and momentum in this mega initiative. In doing so, this Group will function only as a semi-formal body.