Centre to start measuring ‘green GDP’ of States

Figures will be used to calculate land acquisition costs, climate mitigation funds

Updated - June 04, 2018 10:51 pm IST

Published - June 04, 2018 10:50 pm IST - NEW DELHI

 A pilot project is is set to begin this September in 54 districts across the country.

A pilot project is is set to begin this September in 54 districts across the country.

India’s environmental diversity and riches are universally recognised but have never been quantified. Starting this year, the government will begin a five-year exercise to compute district-level data of the country’s environmental wealth. The numbers will eventually be used to calculate every State’s ‘green’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The metric will help with a range of policy decisions, such as compensation to be paid during land acquisition, calculation of funds required for climate mitigation, and so on.

“This is the first time such a national environment survey is being undertaken,” said Anandi Subramanian, Senior Economic Adviser, Union Environment Ministry.

A pilot project is set to begin this September in 54 districts. Land will be demarcated into “grids” with about 15-20 grids per district. These will capture the diversity in the State’s geography, farmland, wildlife, and emissions pattern, and will be used to compute a value, she added.

“If, for instance, there’s a no-go zone, we need to calculate what its economic impact is,” she told The Hindu on the sidelines of a conference to mark World Environment Day on June 5.

Ms. Subramanian didn’t specify the budget for the exercise but said that the funds for the pilot project “were already available.”

Much of the data required for the inventory would be sourced from datasets that already exist with other government ministries.

The government has also launched a ‘green skilling’ programme under which youth, particularly school dropouts, would be trained in a range of ‘green jobs’— as operators of scientific instruments used to measure environmental quality, as field staff in nature parks, and as tourist guides. Some of the labour required for the survey would also be sourced from the green-skilled workforce.

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