Date: 25th June 2012
In Rio+20 conference, Brazil, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), presented its perspective on green growth in India through a background paper, “India Green Economy: Road map to an inclusive and equitable growth”, outlining the elements of a green economy relevant for India and for the benefit of society.
While the global community deliberates on outcomes of the Rio+20, this paper seeks to provide insights into some of the challenges and issues that are central to developing economies such as India in addressing green development. The key factors determining the conceptualization of green growth in select sectors of the Indian economy are discussed with a view to delineate choices for India that are economically sound, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable. The paper also identifies and discusses some of the success stories and challenges for sustainable development across the various sectors, and subsequently elaborates the actions needed by different institutions and individuals for accelerating the move along a green growth pathway in terms of technology choices, availability of finance, and capacity development with regard to skills and knowledge, etc.
The concept of a “green economy” has gained traction in policy discourse during the last couple of years. The recent interest in green growth is due to the widespread disillusionment with the current economic paradigm which encouraged rapid accumulation of wealth at the expense of depletion and degradation of natural capital and social inequities.
Although India has achieved high rates of economic growth, deprivation levels in India continue to remain stubbornly high. According to UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), 53.7% of India’s population is poor (UNDP, 2011). The number of people who lacked access to electricity and clean cooking technologies in India was 404 million and 855 million respectively in 2009 (IEA, 2010). Moreover, India continues to lag behind several other countries in terms of other measures of development. The biggest challenge for India is to expand access to food, energy, water and other essential goods and services to its growing population.
Therefore, poverty eradication and improvement in social well-being are biggest priorities for countries like India. Against this backdrop, this paper attempts to outline the green growth elements, challenges and opportunities across key themes including food security and sustainable agriculture, resource efficiency (linkage of land, water, and energy), energy access, industrial efficiency, sustainable water provision, sustainable transport, green housing, and waste management.