Nagrik Dialogue

Towards a cleaner and greener economy

How to address the issues and challenges pertaining to balance between Environment and Economy ?

Cleaner and greener economy is related to socio-economic inclusivity with sustainable development. Basis for green economy lies in understanding interdependencies between the economy and environment. It can be said that green economy is the interface between the two. Concept of green economy aims at achieving economic growth which is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. Inclusivity is central to the green economy. For long time , both the business community and environmental activists have thought that economic prosperity and environmental protection are mutually exclusive goals. This myth had unfortunate effect on both public discourse and policymaking. Many believed that economic growth comes at the expense of environment. It is in this context that green economy as a concept can help in removing misconception about economic growth and environment protection being thought as mutually exclusive.


The challenge lies in integrating environmental and economic goals in sensible and effective manner. Most of the public policy issues require to be addressed by striking a careful balance between competing issues. Enviromental protection does need an investment which should be seen as an opportunity to ensure the benefits to the enterprises and the community both. Punitive environmental enforcement may not be a solution. Environmental regulations not resulting in positive benefits have the consequence of eroding support for the policies especially from business leaders who could help improving the economy and environment both. Any effort to strike a balance between environmental and economic goals will fail if the only measure of progress remains focussed on regulations, fee and penalty. Partnership built on shared goals of true progress where every stakeholder comes to table- govt. business leaders, environmentalists, and the society representatives with trust on each other. There needs to be shift in focus from process to progress. Policymakers must continue to pursue policies in terms of progress instead of bureacratic process while business leaders should recognise that environmental leadership is equally beneficial for the business. Aim should be for maximum environmental improvement in an economically competetive market.

For India to achieve its development objectives, its economy should continue togrow with a healthy rate. For our country with a population of 1.3 billion, continuous development is imperative. While achieving this goal, environmental consequences could be substantial due to contraints on natural resources like land, water, minerals and fossil fuels. The extent to which economy will grow green, will depend on its ability to reduce the quantity of resources required over time to support economic growth that leads to enhancementof social equity and job creation. Green growth can play an important role in balancing these priorities. As India accelerates its development journey, challenge before her is to provide improved quality of life to its citizens within the ecological space and constraints. Air and water pollution, spread of forests, bio-diversity, water availability, climate change, energy supply and urbanisation are some of the areas which will need special focus. It would need joint efforts and engagement between govt., research and academia, non-profit organisations and private sector if the goal of green economy needs to be achieved in time bound manner. Enhancing financial, technical and institutional capacities of govt. and voluntary sector is esential for the green growth. Authentic Data capturing for each area will be required for designing any meaningful action plan.

The shift from administrative management system to shared management and shared responsibility can bring transformational changes. Breaking the practice of operating in silos and substituting it with co-operation and partnership would be key to bring success in avhieving the goal of  clean and green economy.

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Nagrik Dialogue is the face of Nagrik Foundation’s communication skills that comes in the form of a monthly magazine. It will work as a bridge for those working at the grass roots level and those who support them in any form and manner.