Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today released the 'Green national Accounts for India', a new report on sustainable consumption prepared by an expert group headed by Professor Partha Dasgupta, eminent environmentalist.
The report was released at a 2-day international workshop on 'Green National Accounting for India' that concluded in New Delhi today. During their deliberations, the experts and academicians discussed different aspects of the subject in the context of a report prepared and submitted by the expert group.
The expert group, headed by Partha Dasgupta, professorial research fellow of the University of Manchester's Sustainable Consumption Institute, was set up in 2011 at the initiative of the prime minister.
Professor (Sir) Partha Dasgupta is considered one of the world's leading experts in environmental economics. He developed the concept of the inclusive wealth of nations, and believes that measuring the wealth of countries by GDP is an error.
The report `Green National Accounts in India – A Framework' dives extensively into the conceptual foundations of economic evaluation, providing an outline of what would ideally be needed for a comprehensive set of national accounts.
The report deals extensively with the conceptual building up of the system of Green National Accounts. It also seeks to create the ability to implement these based on the conceptual framework and existing data sets and studies using the framework methodology, valuation techniques, and feasibility of compilation of various sectoral accounting tables.
He advocates the creation of new indicators that include three types of assets: capital "industrialised" or physical capital (machines, buildings, infrastructure); human capital (education and skills of the population) and natural capital (land, forests, minerals and fossil fuels).
The report provides an outline of what would ideally be needed for a comprehensive set of national accounts. It sets out that national governments and international agencies ought to go beyond even green national accounts, by reclassifying certain classes of goods and services and adding others that are currently missing.
The demand for green national accounts has arisen because of a growing recognition that contemporary national accounts are an unsatisfactory basis for economic evaluation. The report's release coincides with the launch of the 12th Five Year Plan, which has sustainable growth as its core objective.
The Plan document notes that economic development will be sustainable only if it is pursued in a manner, which protects the environment, including greater attention to the management of water, forest and land resources.