Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development in the Indian Himalayan Region

The Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), spanning across 13 Indian States/Union Territories, is a unique and diverse geographical area covering approximately 2500 kilometers. This region is home to nearly 50 million people, each living amidst a rich tapestry of demographics, economics, environment, society, and politics. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of Agenda 2030 in the Indian Himalayan Region and explore the initiatives and efforts aimed at preserving and enhancing this vital part of India.

Understanding the Indian Himalayan Region

The Indian Himalayan Region is not just a geographical expanse; it’s a treasure trove of biodiversity, culture, and history. This region encompasses the states and union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Assam, and West Bengal. The sheer diversity of landscapes, ranging from towering mountains to lush valleys, makes it a place of unparalleled beauty.

The Demographic Diversity

With nearly 50 million inhabitants, the Indian Himalayan Region boasts a diverse population. The people who call this region home belong to various ethnicities, languages, and cultures. This diversity not only adds to the region’s charm but also presents unique challenges and opportunities for sustainable development.

Economic Significance

The economy of the Indian Himalayan Region is as diverse as its topography. Agriculture, horticulture, tourism, and handicrafts are significant contributors to the local economy. However, the region also faces challenges like unemployment, underemployment, and seasonal migration, which need to be addressed for holistic development.

NITI Aayog’s Role in Sustainable Development

One of the key players in driving sustainable development SDG 2030 in the Indian Himalayan Region is NITI Aayog, the premier policy think tank of the Government of India. NITI Aayog has recognized the immense potential and unique challenges that this region presents and has taken several initiatives to ensure its sustainable development.

National Workshop on Spring Revival

In 2022, NITI Aayog is set to organize a national workshop on spring revival. This workshop aims to bring together central ministries, state government agencies, research institutions, NGOs, and other stakeholders to share best practices related to science, governance, and fieldwork aspects of spring revival. It is a crucial step towards rejuvenating the region’s ecosystems and water sources.

Indian Himalayan Central University Consortium (IHCUC)

The IHCUC is playing a pivotal role in conducting studies in five thematic areas crucial for sustainable development in the Indian Himalayan Region:

  1. Enumeration and Valuation of Female Labour Impact: Recognizing the significant contribution of female labor in the hills, this study aims to quantify and understand its economic impact.
  2. Agroecology with Emphasis on Marketing: Given the region’s agrarian economy, promoting sustainable agriculture practices and effective marketing strategies is essential.
  3. Eco-friendly Tourism: Tourism is a major industry in the Indian Himalayas. Developing eco-friendly and cost-effective tourism practices will help preserve the region’s natural beauty.
  4. Livelihood Opportunities: Providing alternative livelihood options is crucial for stemming migration from the hills and sustaining local communities.
  5. Water Conservation and Harvesting: As water resources are vital, strategies for their conservation and sustainable use are under examination.

The Ministry of Education and University Grants Commission have sanctioned funds for these studies, which are expected to be completed in 2021. The Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) Vertical is diligently monitoring the progress in each thematic area.

Webinar on ‘Agroecology and Market Development

NITI Aayog, in collaboration with IHCUC, organized a webinar on ‘Agroecology and Market Development in the Indian Himalayan Region’ on 25th June 2021. The webinar brought together key stakeholders, including Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, and Secretaries from the Government of India and the 13 Indian Himalayan States and Union Territories. The event was a platform for sharing insights and strategies for promoting sustainable agriculture and market development in the region.

Sustainable development in the Indian Himalayan Region is not just a goal; it’s a necessity. The region’s unique ecological, cultural, and economic significance demands a thoughtful and comprehensive approach. With initiatives like the national workshop on spring revival, studies by the IHCUC, and webinars focusing on agroecology and market development, NITI Aayog is leading the way towards a more sustainable and prosperous future for this remarkable part of India. The preservation of its natural beauty and the well-being of its people are at the heart of these efforts.