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NE most environment friendly: Report
Published on 14 Jan. 2010 12:52 AM IST
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The North Eastern states of Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram along with Sikkim and Uttaranchal have been rated as the most environmentally sustainable states in India, according to the latest version of the Centre for Development Finance’s Environmental Sustainability Index of Indian States 2009. Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Tripura and West Bengal also figure among the more sustainable states. The report was released in Chennai on Tuesday by CDF, a not-for-profit research think-tank affiliated to the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR). Among the high larger-economy states, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh rank low in the chart, while Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have managed to balance economic growth and environmental quality. Interestingly, some states with abundant natural resources such as Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Goa fall in the medium and less sustainable categories in ESI 2009. “It indicates that these states face challenges in sustainable development due to degradation, more stress on the ecosystems and/or less responsive policies and institutions,” said Rupanwita Dash, Senior Researcher, CDF. In broad terms, ESI measures the potential of states to maintain their environment in the coming decades, taking into account each state’s general environmental conditions and the pressures that the state faces on its environmental resources. “The overall ESI is aggregated from data on various aspects of the environment and environ policy in order to understand the larger picture of sustainability, while the sub-indices provide more specific information about environmental sustainability in particular issue areas such as water, air, land and forest cover.” said Jessica Wallack, director, CDF. Besides a comparative analysis of environmental achievements, challenges and priorities among states of the country, ESI also takes into consideration the policy action and societal efforts to preserve the environment. “It is designed to sensitise, inform and empower citizens and policy makers,” according to Koyel Mandal, programme head, environmentally sustainable finance, CDF. “Being a relative measure, ESI does not tell how states fared this year as compared to previous years; rather it identifies peer groups, leaders and less sustainable states,” he said. “Any comparison will tend to create peer pressure with each state wanting to perform better than the other,” said Dash. “But the ESI also highlights the scope for mutual learning from best practices.” ESI is constructed as a composite index from 40 key environmental indicators. The 40 indicators are grouped into nine thematic sub-indices from a policy perspective. The nine sub-indices are air quality and pollution, water quality and availability, land use and agriculture, forest and biodiversity, waste management, energy management, health impact, population pressure and environmental budget.

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