Both Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu took the second spot. Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst performing states.
Kerala has retained the top rank in Niti Aayog's SDG India Index 2020-21, while Bihar has been adjudged as the worst performer, according to a report released on Thursday.
The Index for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) evaluates progress of states and union territories on social, economic and environmental parameters.
Kerala retained its rank as the top state with a score of 75. Both Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu took the second spot with a score of 74.
Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst performing states in this year's India index.
The third rendition of India's SDG Index was launched by Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar on Thursday.
Further, Chandigarh maintained its top spot among the UTs with a score of 79, followed by Delhi (68).
Mizoram, Haryana and Uttarakhand are the top gainers in 2020-21 in terms of improvement in score from 2019, with an increase of 12, 10 and 8 points, respectively.
While in 2019, 10 states/UTs belonged to the category of front-runners (score in the range 65-99, including both), 12 more states/UTs find themselves in this category in 2020-21.
Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Punjab, Haryana, Tripura, Delhi, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh graduated to the category of front-runners (scores between 65 and 99, including both).
The country's overall SDG score improved by 6 points - from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2020-21.
This positive stride towards achieving the targets is largely driven by exemplary country-wide performance in goal 6 (clean water and sanitation) and goal 7 (affordable and clean energy), where the composite goal scores are 83 and 92, respectively.
“Our effort of monitoring SDGs through the SDG India Index and Dashboard continues to be widely noticed and applauded around the world.
"It remains a rare data-driven initiative to rank our states and union territories by computing a composite index on the SDGs,” Kumar said.
Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, “The report reflects on the partnerships we have built and strengthened during our SDG efforts.
"The narrative throws light on how collaborative initiatives can result in better outcomes and greater impacts.”
On the theme of partnerships which is central to goal 17, Niti Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said, “It is clear that by working together we can build a more resilient and sustainable future, where no one is left behind.”
First launched in December 2018, the index has become the primary tool for monitoring progress on the SDGs in the country and has simultaneously fostered competition among the states and union territories by ranking them on the global goals.
The index, developed in collaboration with the United Nations in India, measures the progress at the national and sub-national level in the country's journey towards meeting the global goals and targets and has been successful as an advocacy tool to propagate the messages of sustainability, resilience, and partnerships, as well.
From covering 13 goals, 39 targets, and 62 indicators in the first edition in 2018-19 to 17 goals, 54 targets and 100 indicators in the second; this third edition of the index covers 17 goals, 70 targets, and 115 indicators.
The SDGs, constituted through an unprecedented consultative process, have 17 goals and 169 related targets to be achieved by 2030.
The goals are an ambitious commitment by world leaders which set out a universal and an unprecedented agenda which embraces economic, environmental and social aspects of the well-being of societies.