Role of PRIs to achieve SDGs and Recent Government Initiative

There are 17 SDGs with 169 targets adopted in a 2015 UN resolution. Government of India has been pursuing a roadmap for achieving them via Panhayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). This topic focuses on a probable question – what role the PRIs in India can play in achieving the SDGs and how?

Recent Government Initiative

Most of our people live in villages and PRIs are the most immediate and closest form of democracy for each Individual.  If Panchayats decide and are given enough resources, they can achieve any potent goal which even parliament or state legislatures may not.

Since all SDGs have some goals which can be directly linked to the Panchayats, the government has taken an important step to rope in PRIs to achieve the SDGs at local level. Out of the 17 SDGs, 9 including zero hunger or malnutrition, reducing maternal mortality rate, and prevention of child marriages and female foeticide have been identified as priority areas.

Key aspects of the strategy
  • The key aspect of this strategy is “participatory planning”. The Panchayats will prepare Panchayat Development Plans setting local socio-economic goals in terms of SDGs and then create a Panchayat’s plan of action.
  • The states will integrate their SDG plan with that of Panchayat Development Plans and will identify the priority areas based on local circumstances.
  • Centre would help the states in capacity building, training and mentoring and also closely monitor progress in reaching the development milestones
Analysis: Most problems (for which SDGs have been adopted) are global. Is it sensible to involve local bodies?

Involving local bodies or panchayats to meet development targets is an appreciable idea. Each local body can prepare a strategy that can work in its own area and define the issues which are more important to them. While most of the problems are global, involving PRIs is logical because the solutions of those problems are local and so, empowering local institutions to address them makes sense.

The panchayats can identify their priority areas and set forth their own goals to achieve the SDGs. They can involve the villages through selecting volunteers who would be creating awareness about the SDGs in the local languages.

From the centre’s end, the centre can conduct training programmes for the panchayats and maybe issue a handbook consisting of guidelines the panchayats can follow in order to meet the desired goal in the time period.

Also an oversight must be maintained from the centres end through monitoring and evaluation. Besides that, capacity building and human resources and best practices must be shared with the panchayats in order to meet the goals.

There are also certain central schemes of the government which are implemented at the village level with active participation of the panchayats. These schemes along with the panchayats can enable India meet the targets of SDGs from the very grass root level.