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Prime Minister Releases Green National Accounts in India a Framework

The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh here today unveiled “Green National Accounts in India A Framework – Report of the Expert Group” at an international workshop organized by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOS&PI). The report has been prepared by an expert group set up by MOS&PI under the renowned economist and Professor at University of Cambridge Sir Partha Dasgupta.

Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; Dr. Pranob Sen, Chairman National Statistical Commission, Dr. T.C.A. Anant, Secretary, MO&SPI, Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Chairman of the Expert Group and several other National and International delegates are participating in the two-day workshop.

Speaking on the occasion the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said that the Government of India has taken several initiatives aimed at greening the Indian economy. A number of national strategies and policies, which inculcate the principle of sustainability, are already in place. He said, for example, Government has set up a National Clean Energy Fund by imposing a cess on coal and have also created a Compensatory Afforestation Fund. He said, the National Environmental Policy, 2006 articulates that only such development is sustainable which respects ecological constraints and the imperatives of social justice. Dr. Manmohan Singh said, the National Agricultural Policy focuses on sustainable development of agriculture by promoting technically sound and economically viable, environmentally non-degrading, and socially acceptable uses of the country’s natural resources. He said, the National Electricity Policy underscores the use of renewable sources of energy. The Prime Minister said, india’s National Action Plan on Climate Change provides a clear strategy for addressing the challenges posed by climate change. An Expert Group for Low Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth has also been set up. India has also made a voluntary domestic commitment to reduce, by the year 2020, the emissions intensity of our GDP by 20-25 percent as compared to 2005 levels. Some State Governments are also proposing to experiment with Emissions Trading Schemes to reduce the level of ambient air pollution near major industrial clusters.

Dr. Manmohan Singh said, a new initiative that is worth mentioning is the programme of the Ministry of Rural Development for “greening” rural development. This comprises activities that regenerate and conserve the natural resource base and use clean materials, technologies and processes to create environment friendly products, livelihoods, enterprises and jobs. This can stimulate rural economies, help maintain critical ecosystem services and strengthen the climate resilience of the rural poor.

He said, while it is expected that the policies and initiatives taken by the Government will contribute to a green bottom-line in India’s national accounts, he said, he does not doubt the difficulties that will be encountered in capturing a diverse set of variables in a statistical framework and compiling the accounts from a truly green perspective. But, he is equally sure that the deliberations of the Workshop will succeed in delivering practical solutions to the problems of measuring the interaction between the economy and the environment. Dr. Manmohan Singh expressed the hope that the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, in consultation with the Planning Commission and the Ministries concerned, will take a leading role in implementing the recommendations of this very important Group.

The Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation Shri Srikant Kumar Jena in his speech has said that ‘Green GDP’ has been extensively used globally by economists, statisticians and policy makers for integrating natural capital in the balance sheet of the country.  It is not only thought provoking but a matter of concern for all of us to analyse whether the accounting of GDP, measures the welfare of people or there is something more to it. He said that besides deciding on a framework on Green national accounting, the key challenge would be to monitor and measure adjusted economic growth and efficiently use the data for effective policy initiatives for welfare of the society.

The Minister informed that the MOS&PI has taken many initiatives towards environmental and natural resources accounting by way of commissioning a pilot project during 1999-2000 through ‘The Energy and Resources Institute -TERI’ and commissioned eight studies in various States covering different sectors of environment.  As a further step towards natural resources accounting, an Expert Group was constituted under Prof.  Dasgupta in August, 2011 to develop a framework for Green National Accounting in India, identifying data gaps and preparing a road map for implementation of the framework with the approval of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

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