Economic growth has to be inclusive and not at the cost of education, environment and health, Niti Ayog member V K Saraswat said here today. The definition of development should also change as economic development is different from economic growth, Saraswat said. “Economic development brings inclusiveness, brings all the aspects of the development, whereas economic growth talks only of GDP,” he told reporters after addressing a workshop on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) vis-a-vis Telangana. “The GDP has to go up, but not at the cost of inclusiveness, not at the cost of all other aspects, education, health, environment and all that. It has to be in consonance with that,” Saraswat said. A method, integrating environment, social and economic aspects, needs to be adopted in taking decisions concerning development, he said. Saraswat said a “sustainability filter” should be applied when decisions concerning development are taken, to ensure that they are sustainable in the long run. “I call it a filter. Sustainability filter has to be put on each and every decision. Then only SDG can be actually followed,” he said. He said any action or technological decisions which cause maximum impact on environment, social and economic considerations must be rejected.
“What is the criteria for saying no? The criteria for saying no is any action or any technological decision which gives you maximum luxury with (but) maximum impact on the environment, on social and also economic consideration, then that particular decision has to be shunned,” Saraswat said. “Only those choices which have minimum impact on these three pillars and the one which has got maximum output in terms of performance has to be taken,” Saraswat said. “So, we have to bring a method by which environment, social and the economical parts are integrated. That’s why the filter is important,” he said.
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The SDGs are a framework of 17 universal goals and 169 targets across social, economic and environmental areas. Ratified by 193 countries, including India, the SDGs are adopted for implementation from January 1, 2016 and are expected to be achieved before December 31, 2030. On the occasion, UN resident coordinator Diego Palacios said India has an important role to play in achieving SDG globally.