The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) is celebrating ‘Swachhata Pakhwada 2023’ during the fortnight 1st-15th July, 2023 by organizing a series of activities. As a part of the celebration, the Social Statistics Division of NSO, MoSPI organized a one-day seminar today on 3rd July, 2023 on “Residual Accounts and its Linkages with Sustainable Development Goals’ at the India International Centre, New Delhi.
The seminar intended to highlight the fact that Waste Management is a cross cutting issue that affects and impacts various areas of sustainable development in each of the three sustainability domains-ecology, economy and the society. For adequate waste management, appropriate data is needed and ‘System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA)’ is the internationally recognised framework for the compilation of the Environment Accounts, of which Residual Account is a part. With the global commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the use of the SEEA in the assessment of natural resources has increased manifolds. The ‘Residual Accounts’, which is a part of the Material Flow Accounts (MFA), adhering to the SEEA framework is also closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their pertinent targets. These accounts provide a consistent monitoring framework that produces actionable indicators on residuals which can also be used to inform a wide range of policy questions related to climate impacts and adaptation strategies.
The Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation has adopted the SEEA framework in 2018 and has been regularly compiling accounts on various ecosystems. One such accounts is the ‘Solid Waste Account’ which was done on a pilot basis in 2022. In order to further expand the work related to the ‘Residual Accounts’ and to pave the way of a new beginning of cooperation between the various stakeholders, the Ministry demonstrated tremendous zeal in organizing the seminar.
The seminar was attended by representatives of various Ministries/Departments of the Centre and the State Governments. The seminar was also live streamed on YouTube and Facebook. The highly technical seminar started with an inaugural session followed by two technical sessions. The recordings of the seminar will be soon made available in the Ministry’s website.
The event started with Dr. G. P. Samanta, Chief Statistician of India and Secretary, MoSPI stressing on the fact the primary aim of MoSPI is to provide timely, reliable and comprehensive data in order to facilitate evidence-based decision making and the adoption of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) is one of the initiatives taken up by the Ministry in line with the Ministry’s vision. He also stressed on the fact that in India’s context, the official statistics system is laterally decentralized among various Ministries of the (GOI) at the central level and vertically decentralized, between the Centre and the States and a high level of mutual coordination and cooperation is required for ensuring smooth flow of the data/statistics/information among these agencies.
Other eminent dignitaries included – Dr Rajiv Sharma, Chairman, Telengana State Pollution Control Board & Chief Advisor to Government of Telengana, Ms. Anshu Singh, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Ms. Divya Datt, Deputy Country Head, United Nations Environment Programme. The seminar also had useful deliberations from representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board, NITI Aayog, State Pollution Control Board, State Urban Departments.
The first technical session of the event on the theme ‘Residual Accounts and SDGs’ was dedicated to the discussions on the various polices on the ‘Waste Management’, Efforts made by NSO, India in the realm of Residual Accounting and the linkages of the Residual Accounts and its linkages with the SDGs. The second technical session primarily highlighted the Data Collection Mechanism followed and the associated challenge. Representatives from the States of Rajasthan, Karnataka and Assam shared their experience in the context of collection of data on the residuals.
The central idea that surfaced during the seminar was that not only there is an urgent need to fix the ‘throwaway culture’, there is also a need for adequate and reliable data on the residuals which can then be fed into making of effective policies. Since the demand for data on the ‘residuals’ have increased at an unprecedented pace, it is the need of the hour to take into consideration the parameters of ‘sustainability’. It was duly acknowledged that making real strides in sustainability requires to re-think ‘waste’, as sustainability is the road towards prosperity and well-being.
The seminar underscored the importance of ensuring mechanisms are set up in place for development of more robust set of accounts on the ‘Environment’. In short, the seminar was an attempt by NSO, MoSPI to make ‘Environment’ a key dimension in the policy paradigm. NSO, India looks forward towards support and cooperation from all the sub-national, national and international agencies.