Sustainable Development in Maharashtra

Maharashtra, with its unique blend of urban and rural landscapes, is a crucial player in India's pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As the second-most populous state in India, it is a powerhouse of economic activity, cultural diversity, and social dynamics. This distinction positions Maharashtra as a key influencer in India's overall progress towards achieving the SDGs.

The state's bustling cities, Mumbai and Pune, are not just economic hubs but also melting pots of cultural and social diversity. These cities are instrumental in advancing SDG 8, which focuses on decent work and economic growth. The thriving industries and service sectors in these urban areas provide numerous employment opportunities, thereby contributing to reducing poverty and enhancing economic prosperity. Moreover, the state's focus on quality education (SDG 4) is evident through its well-established educational institutions, which are among the best in India. These institutions not only cater to the local population but also attract students from across the country, thereby playing a crucial role in uplifting educational standards nationally.

In rural areas, agriculture remains the backbone of the economy. Maharashtra's agricultural initiatives, aimed at sustainable farming practices, resonate with several SDGs, including zero hunger (SDG 2) and responsible consumption and production (SDG 12). The state's innovative programs, like the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan, aim to enhance water conservation and management. This initiative directly contributes to SDG 6, which focuses on clean water and sanitation. By addressing water scarcity and improving irrigation facilities, the program not only aids in agricultural development but also ensures water sustainability for rural communities.

The state's commitment to SDG 7, affordable and clean energy, is evident in its push towards renewable energy sources. Maharashtra is making significant strides in solar and wind energy installations, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and promoting environmental sustainability. This not only aids in combating climate change (SDG 13) but also ensures a sustainable and secure energy future for the state.

Urbanization in Maharashtra, especially in cities like Mumbai and Pune, directly impacts sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11). The state's urban planning and infrastructure development aim to create more sustainable and livable cities. This includes improving public transportation, reducing pollution, and providing better housing and amenities, thereby enhancing the quality of life for its urban residents.

Furthermore, Maharashtra's rich biodiversity and natural resources necessitate actions towards life on land (SDG 15). The state's conservation efforts in protecting wildlife and forests play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance and promoting biodiversity.

Maharashtra's diverse landscape of opportunities and challenges makes it a microcosm of India's development journey. Its efforts in various sectors, ranging from education and economic growth to environmental sustainability and urban development, have far-reaching implications for the country's progress towards the SDGs. The state's success in these areas can serve as a model for other regions in India, thereby accelerating the nation's journey towards achieving these global goals. As such, Maharashtra's role in India's SDG story is not just significant but also potentially transformative.

2019 Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge second prize winner, Dr. Ankur Patwardhan
In 2019, Dr. Ankur Patwardhan, Head of the Biodiversity Department at Maharashtra Education Society’s Abasaheb Garware College, Pune, India, was awarded the second prize in the Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. Contributing to SDGs 13 and 15, his project, “Butterfly attractant for pollination and ecosystem health”, focused on the plant-pollinator interactions that play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem balance and aimed at enhancing floral visits by butterflies through the development of natural attractant formulations. One year later, we interviewed Dr. Patwardhan about his experience at the Challenge, as well as the upcoming steps for his project.
This articles highlights one of the winning proposals of the Elsevier Foundation Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge, “Butterfly attractant for pollination and ecosystem health.” The project, which combines ecology and chemistry, involved field observations and lab-based experiments to protect biodiversity in the Western Ghats of India by increasing butterfly pollination, contributing to SDGs 13, 15 and 17.
The Business and Sustainable Development Commission’s India Focus Report identifies the major market opportunities India, where sustainable business models could open up an economic prize of at least US$1 trillion in new market value. The report recommends expanded use of blended finance instruments, merging public and private funding which could be the single most important factor in delivering the SDGs. Partnerships forged by business are integral to the success of all SDGs and in particular SDG 17.