5 trillion dollar economy of India: A green perspective
Dr. Goutam Saha / Dr. S.N. Misra September 8, 2019
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi aimed for a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024. To attain this target, our GDP needs to grow steadily over the next few years. Experts say it is possible however the biggest challenge is to attain this type of ambitious growth in an environment-friendly way in our present era of climate crisis.
Recent researches of Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment of London School of Economics, have asserted that continued economic growth is feasible provided the intellectual economy is expanded through innovation, technology development for cleaner and greener environment and systems.
World Bank Report also says a low-emission, resource-efficient greening of the economy should be possible at a very low cost in terms of the GDP growth. World Bank economists argued for an environmentally sustainable future growth, India needs to value its natural resources and ecosystems for superior policy framing and decision-making.
Coming to present India, we are witnessing the devastating natural disasters at a higher frequency, fatal heat waves, the worst water crisis and water stress since our independence, are residing in the world's worst-performing cities in terms of air quality, etc.
The agricultural sector that employs more than 50% of the Indians, struggles with the huge increment of input costs in terms of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, decreasing farm profitability, resulting in farmers' suicide, food and nutritional crisis among rural communities, increasing rural unemployment, etc.
From the recent cutting edge research work and a few Indian examples, some strategies maybe implemented and a few successful developmental cases may be replicated to attain the desired green growth with significant job creation.
They are as follows.
Deccan Development Trust of Telangana, Timbaktu Collective of Andhra Pradesh, Amar Khamar of West Bengal (organic farming, agroforestry), Khamir of Gujarat, Upasana Studio of Auroville (Handloom & Handicraft), Kudumbashree (Microfinance, Micro Enterprises, Farming) and many more.
Government and businesses may focus on creating and developing these sorts of organisations to create growth and job opportunities while taking care of the natural environment.
Taxing the highly polluting or environmentally degrading businesses initially may support these green community organisations to grow. Presently experts like 2018 Nobel Prize winning economist William Nordhaus and many more argue that environmental/carbon taxes could potentially be used to yield positive net environmental and health benefits with minimal economic costs.
After the liberalisation of the economy in 1991, despite economic growth, India has not done well in terms of protecting the natural environment. A recent survey among 178 countries, India ranked 155 in terms of overall environmental quality.
A new World Bank report finds that environmental degradation costs India $80 billion per year or 5.7% of its economy. So, our 5 trillion dollar dream must take the path of caring for our mother nature and her all flora and fauna.
Our father of the nation Gandhiji once said, "The path is the goal". He never compromised on his path to attain the goals. Getting inspiration from his thoughts and actions, let the nation chose the sustainable path to attain our big dreams.
(Dr Goutam Saha is Associate Professor, teaches &Researches Sustainable Entrepreneurship in NIFT, Bhubaneswar, Prof. S.N. Misra teaches Economics)