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Cambridge expert for ‘green’ GDP count

New Delhi, May 9: A Cambridge University economist will chair an expert group set up by the government to help compute India’s gross domestic product (GDP) after accounting for environmental costs, starting 2015.

Partha Dasgupta, an environmental economist at Cambridge University, will chair the group to develop a road map for India to be able to report “green national accounts”, Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh said today.

The work of this group, expected to include other distinguished economists, will be of great importance in striking a balance between rapid growth and conservation, Ramesh said.

A government policy to calculate GDP taking into account the environmental costs could make India among the first countries to introduce green national accounting.

Dasgupta has published research on green accounts. In collaboration with other economists, he has calculated that the genuine domestic investment rate in India is about 2.3 percentage points lower than the normally reckoned rate from 1971-2000.

In one study, Dasgupta has shown that against India’s per capita GDP growth of 2.96 per cent during the period, the per capita growth rate after taking into account environmental costs works out to 0.31 per cent.

An expert group set up by the Planning Commission said today that India could reduce the growth of its carbon emissions by up to 34 per cent by 2020 over 2005 levels while holding an 8 to 9 per cent growth.

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