India Gross Domestic Product will not be more than six % if impact of economic growth on ecology is considered, Environment minister Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday, thereby questioning policy of achieving high growth rate without protecting environment.
Although impact of economic growth on environment has not been studied in India, the Planning Commission has allocated funds to be states from this financial year on basis of a comprehensive environment index. A state with higher rank has received more money than the ones not doing well on the index.
"If you are reporting a 9% GDP growth...the real GDP growth in terms of accounting for ecological degradation, loss of natural resources, loss of bio-diversity would probably be somewhere closer to five and half to six per cent," Ramesh said at a function on Thursday.
The minister wanted India to take cognizance of a World Bank report, which underlined the need for "environmental sustainability" as the next great challenge that India.
"By 2015... I have an agreement with the Planning Commission.... India will report not just GDP as a conventional measure," the minister said, adding the GDP would incorporate the loss of natural wealth and loss of the country's biodiversity because of developmental pressure.
Ramesh said India should learn from Australia, Norway and Mexico where "integrated natural resource" is accounting into their economic accounts.
"We need to train new generation and scholars in this area. We need to train economists in this area," he said and added that people should be "more sensitive" to ecological loss on account of the economic growth.
Ramesh said the Ministry would also soon launch Green India Mission, which would mark a "profound paradigm shift in the way we approach the forests and forest management."
"Who is going to do Green India mission. That is the real paradigm shift. It is the people who are going to be responsible for Green India Mission," he said.
It will be implemented through local bodies, local institutions, local women's self help group, local communities with technical and managerial assistance of the forest department, Ramesh added.
He questioned the contention that India has 33 % of forest cover and said 40 % of the country's forest area is open de-graded.