Should India fast track attainment of Sustainable Development Goals to build back better after the COVID Pandemic?
Saudamini DasSSN College & IEG
As per UN reports, the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) got delayed due to COVID-19 as health and sanitation sectors were prioritized in funding allocation. Scientific research attributes the pandemic to the loss of natural habitats of pathogens from unsustainable lifestyles that afflicted humans and put their lives at risk. Should sustainable development be prioritized in post-pandemic developmental programs? Will such a policy undermine pandemic management? This paper examines the complementarity of COVID and sustainability by analyzing the relation between SDG scores and COVID mortality in Indian states. COVID mortality is seen negatively related to SDG score differences and SDG growth rates between 2018 and 2020 and depicts an inverted U-shape association. States that fastened the attainment of SDGs in 2020 compared to 2018 managed the pandemic well and witnessed fewer deaths, whereas states with the slow progress of SDGs witnessed more deaths. Globally, countries managing the pandemic well are seen to have suffered lower economic losses, and thus, high SDG scorer states can attain higher economic growth by better managing the pandemic.