Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or “2030 Agenda” is a set of 17 goals set by the United Nations in 2015. Each one of these goals is broad with specific target groups aimed for the sustainable development and transformation of the world by 2030. Seventy-four years before the adoption of SDGs, a visionary named Mahatma Gandhi in his book “Constructive Programme (CP) for the nation” outlined 18 goals for the development of the country. The sustainable development goals and the constructive programme intersect at many points due to their similarities. At the outset, both these are development goals. Though CP is not universal, its goals and targets find its resonance with more than one of the goals of SDGs.
‘Quality Education’ is one of the common goals of both SDG and CP. There has been considerable improvement in the access to the education both in India and the world. Access to education doesn’t necessarily mean the children are receiving the quality education. Most of the children across the world still lack basic literacy skills. The primary motive behind the goal is to ensure every child receives the inclusive and equitable education without discrimination. It is an undisputed fact that education plays a key role in the development. Imparting ‘Quality Education’ means providing lifelong opportunity and equipping our children with the necessary skill set. The universal appeal of the quality of education is the reason for its significance in both SDG and CP.
‘Gender Equality’ can alone be a stand-alone goal for any country and the world. Women empowerment is one of the critical challenges for almost all the nations in the world. However, Gandhi in his CP laid down the principle to ensure equal social, political and economic rights for the women on par with the men. As of 2014 as many as 143 countries across the world had guaranteed equality between men and women. However, the ingrained patriarchy in our society is a significant obstacle to achieving this goal. The goal can only be achieved with the combined efforts of all the countries in the world and through the strict enforcement of legislation meant to protect women.
‘Sanitation’ is another common goal shared by SDG and CP for the sustainable development. Six of the ten people in the world lack safely managed sanitation facilities explain the deplorable condition of the sanitation across the world. In India, the rural sanitation is in the abysmal state with people prone to the diseases. Most of the deaths worldwide can be prevented just by providing them proper toilets. The programmes such as “Swach Bharat” in India are inspired by the Gandhi’s call to make villages open defecation free.
Apart from the common goals, SDG and CP find its similarity concerning the pressing need for the implementation of these goals worldwide especially in India for transformation and sustainable development.