Jairam says GDP will be less if env impact is considered

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) The country''s nine per centgrowth story today came in for questioning from EnvironmentMinister Jairam Ramesh who contended that if the impact onecology had been taken into consideration, the growth wouldhave been only around six per cent.

He said from 2015 onwards the impact of ecology wouldbe part of calculations to judge the economic growth.

"If you are reporting a 9 per cent GDP growth...the realGDP growth in terms of accounting for ecological degradation,loss of natural resources, loss of bio-diversity wouldprobably be somewhere closer to five and half to six percent," Ramesh said.

He was addressing the �Stakeholders Consultations onthe Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in India� here.

Referring to a World Bank report which underlined theneed for "environmental sustainability" as the next greatchallenge that India faces along its path to development, theminister said one should take "cognizance" of this.

People should be "more sensitive" to ecological losson account of the economic growth, he said.

"By 2015... I have an agreement with the PlanningCommission.... India will report not just GDP as aconventional measure," the minister said, adding the GDPwould incorporate the loss of natural wealth and loss of thecountry''s biodiversity because of developmental pressure.

Ramesh said India should learn from Australia, Norwayand Mexico where "integrated natural resource" is accountinginto their economic accounts.

"We need to train new generation and scholars in thisarea. We need to train economists in this area," he said.

Ramesh said the Ministry would also soon launch GreenIndia Mission, which would mark a "profound paradigm shift inthe way we approach the forests and forest management."

"Who is going to do Green India mission. That is thereal paradigm shift. It is the people who are going to beresponsible for Green India Mission," he said.

It will be implemented through local bodies, localinstitutions, local women''s self help group, local communitieswith technical and managerial assistance of the forestdepartment, Ramesh added.

He questioned the contention that India has 33 percentof forest cover and said 40 percent of the country''s forestarea is open de-graded.

The Minister emphasised the need of upgrading thequality of the forests as increasing the quantity of forestis difficult because of developmental and demographicpressure.

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