NITI Aayog and the Important Reports (the Concepts)

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : June 27th, 2021

This article and the information shared here is relevant for the UPSC and other State PCS exams. The way we plan for our monthly expenses and make a rough estimate of short- or medium-term financial planning, in the same manner, the country also needs to do a plan for short or medium-term for its income, expenses, investments and contingencies.

NITI Aayog and Important Reports

NITI Aayog is created for the financial planning at pan-India and the important reports it releases for the development assessing various parameters. Before knowing about it in detail, let us briefly explore the earlier version of the planning body in India. Planning Commission was established in March 1950 by a resolution of the Government of India. It was made responsible for assessing national resources and drafting five-year plans for the effective use of the resources. The objective was to the proper and effective utilization of resources. With changing times, and growing needs of the people and effectively address them, a new version of planning body i.e. NITI Aayog was established by a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1, 2015, replacing the Planning Commission.

NITI Aayog is regarded as the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India. It provides both directional and policy inputs. Besides designing the strategic and long-term policies and programmes for the Government of India, the Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre as well as the States.

Structural composition of NITI Aayog

The NITI Aayog consists of two hubs at its core: ‘Team India Hub’ and the ‘Knowledge and Innovation Hub’. These hubs reflect the two key tasks of the Aayog.

  • The Team India Hub leads the engagement of states with the Central government.
  • The Knowledge and Innovation Hub builds NITI’s think-tank capabilities.

With necessary resources, knowledge and skills, the NITI Aayog is also developing itself as a State-of-the-Art Resource Centre. It will enable to promote research and innovation, provide strategic policy and fast pace the vision for the government and deal with contingent issues.

Members of the NITI Aayog:

  1. Chairperson: Shri Narendra Modi
  2. Vice-Chairperson: Dr. Rajiv Kumar
  3. Full-time member: Prof. Ramesh Chand
  4. Full-time member: Profile -Shri V.K. Saraswat
  5. Full- time member: Profile- Dr. V.K. Paul
  6. Chief Executive Officer: Shri Amitabh Kant 

Objective of NITI Aayog

The NITI Aayog aims to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by the State Governments of India. It envisions to practice cooperative federalism.  NITI Aayog aspires to transform India across States, UTs, and districts. It envisions development across sectors such as health and nutrition, education, women empowerment, strengthening governance mechanism and applies them in aspirational districts and monitors the progress. In this regard, the NITI Aayog releases reports to assess the performance of the states on various parameters. Let us discuss some of the important reports released by the NITI Aayog.

  1. India Innovation Index (III)

To foster the culture of innovation across the Indian states, the NITI Aayog has come up with the ‘India Innovation Index’. It is a first-ever Index aims to facilitate the creation of a conducive ecosystem for innovation to flourish across the country.

Why innovation is essential?

Innovation has always been a driver of change and progress in any economy as it disrupts traditional practices and businesses. The Index will help States devise their own strategy for fostering an innovation climate, it will enable to benchmark their performance with other states. Therefore, The India Innovation Index is considered as the average of the scores of its two dimensions- Enablers and Performance.

The Index has been grouped under two main headings:

  • Enablers: factors that will drive innovation in the States and Union Territories
  • Performance: enable to measure the outcomes of States and Union Territories

Objectives: the twin-objectives include State’s Innovation Ranking and the Empowering States to improve. The Enablers are the factors that underpin innovative capacities, the five enablers pillars (enables the innovative capacities) are:

  1. Human Capital
  2. Investment
  3. Knowledge workers
  4. Business Environment
  5. Safety and Legal Environment

The performance dimension captures benefits that a nation derives from the inputs and the two Performance pillars are:

  1. Knowledge Output
  2. Knowledge Diffusion

Important Highlights of India Innovation Index 2019:

  • Karnataka is the most innovative state in India
  • Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are among top ten in the list.
  • Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka are among the most efficient states who translated inputs into outputs.
  • Delhi and Sikkim have secured top scores among union territories and North-Eastern hill state list respectively.  
  1. SDG India Index

To get the holistic view of the social, economic and environmental status of the country and its States and Union Territories, the SDG India Index is designed. India played a prominent role in the formulation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and much of the country’s National Development Agenda is mirrored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  NITI Aayog has taken the lead by bringing out the SDG India Index – Baseline Report 2018 and showing how SDGs will be measured in India. The Index is an aggregate measure which can be policymakers, businesses, civil society and the general public.

  • It comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets.
  • It is developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), United Nations in India, and the Global Green Institute.
  • It tracks the progress of all States and UTs on 100 indicators drawn from the MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework (NIF).
  • The Index spans 16 out of 17 SDGs with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17.
  • This marks an improvement over the 2018 Index which covered only 13 goals.
  • A composite score is computed in the range of 0-100 for each State/UT based on its aggregate performance across 16 SDGs, indicating the average performance of every State/UT towards achieving 16 SDG and their respective targets.
  • If a State/UT achieves a score of 100, it signifies it has achieved the 2030 national targets. The higher the score of a State/UT, the closer it is towards achieving the targets.
  • Classification criteria based on SDG India Index score is as follows:
  1. Aspirant: 0-49
  2. Performer: 50-64
  3. Front Runner: 65-99
  4. Achiever: 100 
  1. School Education Quality Index (SEQI)

The School Education Quality Index (SEQI) was developed to evaluate the performance of States and Union Territories (UTs) in the school education sector. 


The SEQI aims to drive policy reforms that will improve the quality of school education. To facilitate a like-for-like comparison, States and UTs have been grouped as large States, Small States and UTs.

  • The index seeks to institutionalise a focus on enhancing education outcomes by driving improvements in learning levels, access, equity, infrastructure and governance processes.
  • Within each of these groups, the indicator values have been appropriately scaled, normalized and weighed to generate an overall performance score and ranking for each State and UT.



Number of Indicators

Total Weight

1.     Outcomes

1.1 Learning Outcomes



1.2 Access Outcomes



1.3 Infrastructure & Facilities for Outcomes



1.4 Equity Outcomes



2.     Governance Processes Aiding Outcomes

Covering student and teacher attendance, teacher availability, administrative adequacy, training, accountability and transparency







 In 2020, the world enters the final decade for achieving the SDGs—the ‘Decade for Action’. The SDG India Index 2.0 and the dashboard seek to enable India to both track and encourage accelerated progress to meet the SDGs across all its States and Union Territories

  1. Composite Water Management Index

The issue of water is one that everyone in the country and the world is worried about. The Comprehensive Water Management Index (CWMI) 2019 measures the performance of States on a comprehensive set of water indicators and reports relative performance in 2017-18 as well as trends from previous years (2015-16 and 2016-17). The report comprises nine themes, including attention to groundwater and restoration of water bodies and covers 25 states, two Union Territories.

CWI themes and weights





Source augmentation and restoration of water bodies



Source augmentation (Groundwater)



Major and medium irrigation- Supply side management



Watershed development – Supply side management



Participatory irrigation practices – Demand side management



Sustainable on-farm water use practices – Demand side management



Rural drinking water



Urban water supply and sanitation



Policy and governance




  • Gujarat ranks on top in water management
  • States, including Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar, continued to be in the low-performing category
  • Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have further increased their scores over the last three years.
  • It does not include data from West Bengal, Mizoram, Manipur and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Haryana has shown the maximum improvement and increased nine positions while Chhattisgarh’s rank has reduced by four positions.

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