In most underdeveloped countries or growing economies the discussion around green economy is still at a nascent stage. This is largely due to the perception that “green growth” is always less than “standard” economic growth and costlier. Despite the fact that the Government has initiated a number of schemes to promote the Green Economy and also spread awareness for the same, the march of “Green Growth” is sluggish.
But first, let’s understand what does Green Growth and Green Economy mean!! Key elements under which the Human race has thrived are essentially the Pancha-Bhutas i.e. Air, Water, Fire, Sun and Soil. And any development, which is done by ensuring a balance between these Pancha-Bhutas, is called a sustainable development. If we look at these essential elements we will notice that these are also the basic constituents that make Earth as our “Mother Earth”. Thus, a sustainable development can also be defined as a development that ensures economical and social development keeping in mind the environment sanctity. This in turn is also the definition of Green Growth.
Now that we know what Green Growth is, let us understand what do we mean by Green Economy. An economy that thrives on sustainable living i.e. generates employment-using technologies, products and services that reduces environmental risks and conserves natural resources is a Green Economy. This is also what we call as the Green Ecosystem!!
So essentially, Green Growth and Green Economy are important to ensure that the Human race continues to thrive and evolve. Having said that, we still don’t see them gather enough traction in our daily lives. So what are the impediments in the Green Growth then?? Well, mostly is the perception that Adopting a “Green” way is costlier than the “Standard” procedure and then there is a set of audience that is completely unaware about the existence of the concept of Green Ecosystem. So perceived negative cost benefit analysis and lack of awareness are two prime reasons why the pace of Green Growth has not been very rapid.
Green ecosystem not only ensures a sustainable society but also offer a new set of opportunities in the form of Green Jobs. The Global Green Building market is growing at a rate of 11.9% annually and in India this market is expected to grow by 20% by 2018. And with green buildings currently accounting of just 5% of the total stock that is existing on ground, it becomes such a lucrative field for future skilled professionals to have enriching careers.
India is now synonym to a remarkable growth story with its economy predicted to grow at around 7.5% per annum and is expected to be the fastest growing economy by end of 2018. Having said that, as discussed, in India, decoupling to achieve the green goals is an area of concern. The focus of both the government and the population at large is and will be on growth, to ensure more resources for social sector allocation. Which for India, at its current stage of development, may be a clear trade-off between growth and green growth. The upfront cost from shifting current growth strategies to green growth is expected or perceived to be higher. Although a major point in this shift is that this change in technology might secure higher profit margins in the long run, however, in the short term it could prove costly and thus be an impediment in the growth. The usual argument is that for a developing country like ours, sound infrastructure being still a work in progress and limited fiscal space, to overcome the loss in (economic) growth and thus employment will be too much for the common man!!
Having said that, in India, Green Growth or Green Economy should not be seen as merely an option. It is of paramount importance that we start recognizing Green as a “way of life”!! Most economic agents have accepted this concept and its importance is reflected in the many government initiatives (including eight missions under National Action Plan for Climate Change and task force on Climate Change and Green Jobs). As a long-term proposition, it has been proved that a green ecosystem not only ensures a sound economic growth but also helps in generating more skilled employment.
Any ecosystem will be a success only if all the stakeholders are cognizant of their roles and responsibilities. The process therefore necessitates considerable support from all – the global community (particularly developed nations and international organizations), the National Government and the common citizens to ensure that more “Green Brains” are included in this vision of a creating Green Growth a way of life!!