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India's Green Economy Barometer

Tracking the state of the transition to green economy in the world's most populous democracy

By Development Alternatives Member · 17th December, 2018
India Barometer

We’re delighted to announce the launch of the India Green Economy Barometer 2018, published by Development Alternatives and the Green Economy Coalition (GEC). This new study, based on in-depth research and expertise, highlights the condition of the Indian economy and discusses the broad status of the transition towards a green economy. It offers a full and frank assessment of the challenges that India faces as it attempts to tackle poverty, pollution and populism, but also points to several encouraging signs of an accelerating trend towards a cleaner, fairer future.

India’s Green Economy: an introduction

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but is faced with an enormous challenge: how can it fulfil the basic needs of its population without overshooting environmental limits? Although millions of Indians have been lifted out of poverty in recent decades, gross inequalities between rich and poor have also becoming increasingly entrenched. India is the world’s 12th most unequal society, with the richest 1% of Indians owning almost 60% of the nation’s wealth. And the country increasingly faces a jobs shortfall as shifting global markets and technologies restrict employment opportunities – making escaping poverty even harder. T

Although India has made major international commitments towards the 2030 Global Development Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement, it still ranks 68th out of 80 countries on the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI). Much work remains to be done. The Green Economy Barometer provides insights into the achievements of the Indian economy across high impact sectors, and hence is indispensible in developing the next 15 year plan by the Government of India.

The 2018 Green Economy Barometer

Part of a series assessing the green economies of our seven partner nations, The India Green Economy Barometer tracks the economy on five aspects:

  • Measuring what matters analyses the resilience of India’s economic modelling and measurement. It discusses alternatives to the purely economic terms of measuring - the GDP and the fiscal deficit, such as Gross National Happiness, the Happy Planet Index and Social Progress Index. India ranked 6th out of 190 countries ranked by GDP growth in 2017, while in the same year India was ranked 122 out of 155th countries in Gross National Happiness report.
  • Greening High Impact Sectors- Key sectors with a high potential to progress towards greening are identified, these are - Agriculture, Renewable Energy, Construction, Transport and Medium and Small Industries. The contribution of MSME towards the GDP is high 37% in 2012-13, and it has the potential to provide millions of new jobs.
  • Investing in People assesses the condition of people and the action taken by the government to enhance and develop human resources. In 2013 the GOI made it compulsory for the companies to spend 2% of their profits on corporate social responsibility.
  • Managing Natural Systems emphasizes the protection of India’s natural capital – both valuable but finite raw materials, and the harder to measure but irreplaceable assets like biodiversity, rare species and clean air and water. It examines how more can be done to ensure the equitable distribution of resources and promoting resilience for production and consumption.
  • Influencing Financial Flows- the trend and quantum of green investment in the economy, along with the government’s spending on green economy is analysed, and the inclusiveness of financial sector is assessed. The government has taken the initiative to manage the resources better by introducing new coal taxes, through which a total collection of INR 170 billion was collected till 2014-15. Renewable energy meanwhile has attracted remarkable investment of USS 11.4 billion.


The Indian Green Economy Barometer succinctly presents the five aspects- reforming finance, greening economic sector, valuing nature and investing in people which are necessary to achieve sustainable development. This report targets the policy makers and practitioners who are the key actors to drive the economy towards a sustainable future. The report makes key recommendations across the sectors of economy which will be relevant for progressing, on the path towards green economy. The initiatives includes, reforming finance which entails providing incentives, risk coverage, regulatory framework, technology and infrastructure to promote green MSMEs, and the further promotion of decentralized service models and local enterprises.

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