The Planning Commission, in a report to the Prime Minister, has sought to a change in the Gadgil Mukerjee formula for allocation of resources to state governments.
This comes days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concern over environment degradation. Only two states meet river water quality norms and six comply with overall air quality norms. Half the states do not have adequate facilities to treat waste.
“Considering the influence of natural resources depletion and unabated pollution in many sectors of the economy, it is considered necessary to evolve environment performance by states as a criteria for allocation of resources,” the commission said in a note to Prime Minister’s Office.
Under the Gadgil Mukerjee formula, the maximum weightage (60 per cent) is given to population of the state followed by per capita income (25 per cent) whereas environmental performance is not even considered.
The panel has recommended water pollution, air quality, waste management, forest management and climate change as five sectors for reviving environment performance of states. “Based on the performance, the states will get additional funds,” a commission official said.
Singh at a recent meeting with editors had expressed concern over environment degradation and sought a balance between economic growth and saving the environment.
“We are looking at ways to foster economic growth by minimising impact on the environment,” commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said.
One such initiative is a paper on managing water depleting resources in the country. The panel is likely to suggest a charge on extracting underground water and a penalty for pollution water resources.
According to commission’s evaluation, underground water in the entire northern plain is depleting and only 40 per cent of sewage released into water bodies is treated.