Kerala emerged at the top while Bihar remained in the bottom of the list in the Sustainable Development Goals Index 2019, released by the NITI Aayog on Monday. The report assesses the progress of states and Union Territories on several parameters, including social, economic, and environmental.

Kerala came out on top with a score of 70, the report showed. “Chandigarh too maintained its top spot among the UTs with a score of 70,” the report said. “Himachal Pradesh took the second spot while Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana shared the third spot.”

Odisha, Sikkim, and Uttar Pradesh showed the maximum improvement when compared to their ranks in 2018. However, states like Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand – the bottom three on the 2019 list – did not show much progress from last year.

The SDG India Index, which was introduced in 2018 by NITI Aayog with assistance of the United Nations, took into account 16 out of 17 goals specified by the United Nations as sustainable development goals. The index this year has reportedly ranked states on the basis of 100 indicators out of 306 outlined by the United Nations. Last year’s report had 62 indicators. “There are 40 indicators that are common across SDG India Index 2018 and SDG India Index 2019-2020,” the report said.

India’s composite score is 60, an improvement from last year’s 57, with improvement in sectors such as clean water and sanitation, industry, innovation and infrastructure. On goals such as gender equality, zero hunger, the country has yet to make strides. The country improved its rank in the hunger category from 48 in 2018 to 35 in 2019. In gender equality, the country rose only six ranks from 36 in 2018 to 42 in 2019.

“Kerala is well on track to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals,” tweeted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. “The state has topped NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index 2019 with a top score of 70. The State has improved its previous score and has emerged as Front Runner in 10 categories, out of a total of 16 goals.”

NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Rajiv Kumar said during the launch of the report that South Indian states had scored well in health. He claimed that the Narendra Modi-led Centre will make every effort to ensure the country achieved the SDG Agenda 2030. “West Bengal [rank 14] has also done well in Niti Aayog’s SDG Index 2019, but given the education level [in the state], it should be in top three performing states,” Kumar added, according to PTI.

Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana are the states termed as front runners on the list, owing to their respective performances.

The year 2020 will mark the fifth year of the adoption of sustainable development goals by 193 countries at the United Nations General Assembly.