High Growth Without Sustainability Holds No Meaning, Says Principal Secy To PM In Odisha

Sambalpur: High economic development is not meaningful if it is not sustainable, said Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister PK Mishra on Saturday.

Addressing the 56th Annual Conference of Odisha Economic Association at Sambalpur in Odisha, the Principal Secretary highlighted the significance of the theme of the conference ‘Pathways for Sustainable Growth in an Uncertain World’ citing unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty in the global economy in recent years.

Stressing on India’s journey to become a developed nation by 2047, Mishra underlined the significance of attaining sustainable growth while achieving high growth trajectory. “High growth that is not sustainable will not be meaningful,” he said.

Explaining the difference between economic development and economic growth, he emphasised that ‘sustainable’ economic development involves achieving economic growth while addressing environmental concerns, social equity, and long-term stability. “Sustainable growth considers economic, social and environmental interdependence with a view to creating a balanced and resilient development model”, he added.

The Principal Secretary discussed the origin of the idea of sustainability at the United Nations Conference on Human Environment in 1972 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the form of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets to address global challenges. He said that the universal principle of ‘leave no one behind’ is central to the Global Agenda for 2030.

Reiterating the Prime Minister’s Vision of India 2047, Mishra said India should go beyond achieving the desired level of per capita income and become ‘Atmanirbhar’ in all aspects. “Women will be leading India’s development story, the economy will be more inclusive and innovative and corruption, casteism and communalism will have no place in our national life,” he added.

He underlined the Central government’s efforts in the last 10 years to achieve sustainable development and said the G20 Presidency led by India was recognised globally for its unprecedented scale and success, emphasising the adoption of new concepts for a sustainable and better future.

“The concept of LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) and global initiatives such as Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and International Solar Alliance (ISA) are significant landmarks in India’s efforts to address climate change,” he added.

Mishra reiterated India’s vision for Amrit Kaal that includes sustainable development and reducing inequality by 2047. He underlined India’s efforts during the COVID pandemic that chose the path of reforms.

He hailed second generation reforms such as implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2017 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), introduction of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority bringing transparency and accountability among others that required significant investment of political capital than just opening up of the economy.

The Principal Secretary discussed the key elements of India’s climate action policy as indicated in the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and highlighted other initiatives for environmental sustainability including National Green Hydrogen Mission, Ujala-LED campaign and FAME India, Waste to Wealth schemes, Nano-Urea and Nano-DAP among others.

He lauded several initiatives undertaken by government to develop human capital for faster, inclusive and more equitable growth including National Education Policy 2020, Diksha and PM e-Vidya Platforms, PM Awaas Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission, Ayushman Bharat Programme, Ujjwala Yojana, PM SVANIDHI scheme, PM Vishwakarma Scheme among others, underlining the role of social inclusion in sustainable development.

He discussed at length the conceptual aspects of risk and uncertainty. He made references from his book Agricultural Risk, Insurance and Income and Michael Lipton’s seminal paper, “The Theory of the Optimising Peasant”.

In line with Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s concept of Antifragility, Mishra suggested five pillars in Indian context to become anti-fragile country that included Community-level Initiatives, Resilient Infrastructure, Robust Financial System, Social Protection, Sustainable Natural Resource Management.

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