India’s growing economy that will scale a record high by 2020 will take its toll on environmental and financial resources, a new World Bank study has predicted.
World Bank conducted case studies in seven states on three high-growth sectors - energy, highways and industry -to gauge its impact on environment and said it would be the "biggest challenge" for India in coming years. The study found that growth in these sectors was environmentally unsustainable.
The 8,000-mw Singrauli Housing Power Generation that displaced more than three lakh people since 1960s is an example.
Environment Secretary Prodipto Ghosh admitted India's growing economy will put unprecedented pressure on environment and natural resources - water, land, air, soil and forests.
Relating "Country Environment Analysis for India" on poor compliance of industry norms, Kseniya Lvovsky, Lead Environment Economist at World Bank, said country-wise average compliance ratio of industries monitored is only 50 per cent though environment compliance is set to improve.
India finds itself next to Bangladesh on global environmental sustainability index.
Environmentalists say only bigger industries are monitored and small and medium scale industries that contribute 70 per cent to total industrial pollution load are let off the hook. The report urged the government to start specialised environment programmes for industries and improve their performance without affecting business. For instance, furnaces in Agra, adopted an indigenously-developed clean technology. World Bank said monitoring of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) issued by government was not effective. It affected ecology and recommended strengthening of post EIA clearance.
Considering negative impact of economic growth on environment, World Bank has proposed measures to improve compliance, including transparency and accountability of the environment regulators, increasing their scope, better public participation in regulation and providing fiscal assistance to industry.