Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, chairman of the IHDP Scientific Committee, will head a high-level expert group set up by the Indian government to evaluate the impact of economic growth on the environment. The panel will provide a road map for a “green national accounting” system to help evaluate India’s GDP after taking into account environmental costs and impacts.
A report developed by the panel will advise on methods to reformulate and recreate national accounts and provide guidelines for preparing them. The report will “suggest ways in which this can be done, to show what is doable and what not, and to give a rationale as to why it is important to convert to a green economy”, said Dasgupta.
The report will look primarily at the practical aspects of implementation, taking into account case studies of previous attempts to execute similar changes, while also articulating a vision for an ideal situation – one which, admits Dasgupta, remains at the moment “very far from reachable”.
At the same time, Dasgupta insists that recommendations will be within the realm of feasibility for the Indian government’s statistical office, and will focus primarily on incorporating a number of factors into India’s national accounts that are currently not considered. How and why these inputs are missing, as well as their importance to the integrity of India’s accounting and thus economic planning, will also be explained in the report.
Members of the committee, which was constituted by Jairam Ramesh, India’s previous Minister of Environment, include distinguished figures from economics, statistics and public policy, in addition to TCA Anant, India’s chief statistician and convener of the committee. “One very nice feature of the committee is that we also have some very young people in it who are actually working in this field,” said Dasgupta. “So the committee is a very effective one – it has a very fine combination of experience and influence as well as technical skills.”