47% of the GDP of the poor comes from natural resources: UN report | delhi | Hindustan Times
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47% of the GDP of the poor comes from natural resources: UN report

Around 47% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India's rural poor comes from natural resources, a United Nations report said, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh emphasized on importance of the "GDP of the Poor".

delhi Updated: Oct 18, 2012 19:13 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Around 47% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India's rural poor comes from natural resources, a United Nations report said, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh emphasized on importance of the "GDP of the Poor".

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in an analysis of income of 352 million poor Indians said that 47% of their GDP comes from use of natural resources such as harvesting of forest produce, collecting medicinal herbs from forests and fisheries.

"Conventional GDP is not relevant to a poor person as it does not benefit them as much as the richer guys," said Pavan Sukhdev, UNEP's Goodwill Ambassador, while speaking on relevance of biodiversity for livelihood of a poor person. "The analysis is based on National Sample Survey data."

India has about 380 million poor, half of whom are dependent on ecosystem services for daily sustainability. Industralisation in the last two decades has witnessed loss of biodiversity resources for the poor, thereby affecting their livelihood, several testimonies released at the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) here have showed.

"Biodiversity based livelihood options form the basis of rural survival. Living at the periphery of subsistence, the poor are the most at risk from biodiversity loss," PM Singh said, while inaugurating the high level segment of CBD on Tuesday.

An environment ministry statement on last Friday said India has allowed destruction of 11.44 lakh hectares of forest land, double the size of Delhi, for projects since Forest Conservation Act came into force in 1980 for developmental projects. This means an annual average of 35,775 hectares of forest land diverted.

"Biodiversity based livelihood options form the basis of rural survival. Living at the periphery of subsistence, the poor are the most at risk from biodiversity loss," PM Singh said, while inaugurating the high level segment of CBD on Tuesday.

The UNEP report estimated that the ecosystem services and other non-marketed goods account for between 47% and 89% of the so-called 'GDP of the poor' for India, whereas in Indonesia and Brazil the national GDP -- agriculture, forestry and fisheries account for only 6% to 17%. Sukhdev said the markets were not a solution to social problems and some cases, they tend, to complicate the matters.

To understand how the ecosystem services help poor's economy, the environment ministry will soon be commissioning a study on impact of ecosystem management on lives of people living in bio-diverse rich areas, a ministry official said.