There is a need to set up a mechanism for systematic consideration of the environment in all economic decisions in India, according to experts. They expressed their views in a seminar ‘Data for Sustainable Development: India’s Environmental Accounts and its role in Policy and Decision Making’, organised by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on Tuesday, as per an official statement.
The seminar underscored the importance of using a conceptual framework that integrates scientific and economic data with traditional accounting principles emphasising the fact that SEEA (System of Environmental-Economic Accounting) can help in framing evidence-based policies, which ensures having a sustainable future, the ministry said in the statement. It was also stressed that it had become imminent, especially for developing countries like India to ensure that mechanisms are set up for systematic considerations of the environment in all economic decisions.
The seminar was an attempt by the ministry to make the environment a key dimension in the policy paradigm. GP Samanta, Chief Statistician of India and Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), talked briefly about the initiatives of the ministry in the area of environmental accounts, including the adoption of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting. This was followed by a keynote address by Suman K Bery, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog, who was the chief guest of the seminar. He appreciated the MoSPI embracing environment accounts at an early stage and its continuing efforts in this direction.
Bery also emphasised the importance of ocean accounts, considering the vast coastline the country has and its role in the economy. He suggested that Niti Aayog and the MoSPI should continue their partnership. The central idea that surfaced during the seminar was that environmental concerns do not respect any border and affect all the lives of the current and future generations. It was duly acknowledged that environment and sustainability are the road towards prosperity and policies need to be framed mainstreaming the ‘environment’ into decision making.