SDG 8 in India 
The Sustainable Development Goal 8 aims for the promotion of “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.” In India, the government has launched various schemes to ensure that people, especially the youth, receive sustainable work opportunities through programs like Make in India, Startup India, Skill India and Digital India. Here are some updates on SDG 8 in India, and in particular, what its performance has been regarding each indicator pertaining to the goal.

Indicators Regarding SDG 8 in India  

  1. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Per Capita: One of the major indicators of the goal is the growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, and in the least developed countries, it should be 7% per annum. In 2019, India’s GDP growth per capita was at 4%. The major share in the growth of GDP in India is from the service sector, which is more than half. This model is useful in countries with less population. With a population of over 1.3 billion, there is a need to create opportunities in the manufacturing sector. 
  2. GDP Per Capita Growth Rate Per Employed Person: GDP per capita growth rate per employed person is the second indicator to achieve economic productivity by making technological advances, diversifying and innovating, through a focus on adding a high-value labor force. This indicator gauges the annual change in the real GDP per employed person and captures the change in the productivity of a country’s labor force and the use of resources. India experienced a 5.8% increase in the GDP per capita growth rate per employed person in 2018.
  3. Informal Employment: The third extremely important indicator captures informal employment which is defined as the “proportion of informal employment in non-agriculture employment, by sex.” This is an extremely important goal as according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 81% of the population has employment in the informal sector. This goal interconnects with the fifth Sustainable Development Goal of gender equality. Rural poor women are participating in Self Help Groups (SHGs) and obtaining support to participate in economic activities through services such as savings, credit and livelihoods support. According to reports from the World Bank, 67 million women are mobilized into 6 million women’s Self-Help Groups in this flagship program to reduce poverty and empower women. To promote women’s entrepreneurship, under the startup India scheme, some have undertaken policies and initiatives to create networks and empower women.   
  4. Ease of Doing Business: The performance of India in ease of doing business is mediocre with a rank of 49 out of 190 countries based on data benchmarked to May 2019. A higher rank indicates a more conducive regulatory environment that allows ease in initiating and operating a local firm. The rank is based on aggregate scores on several topics like working to start a business, obtaining electricity and several others. It is imperative to work towards providing a better space for doing business to allow foreign direct investment (FDI), which would further create work opportunities and generate employment.   

Looking Ahead

The COVID-19 pandemic brings to focus the need to invest in the skills of people to ensure stability in work. India faced a major challenge during the March-April 2020 lockdown where millions of laborers migrated from cities to their villages due to work instability and lack of opportunities. Generating employment opportunities, robust infrastructure, empowerment of the informal workers and bridging the gender gap in earnings are areas that require immediate attention to achieve SDG 8 in India.    

– Anandita Bardia
Photo: Flickr