NSO India Releases Second Publication on Environmental Accounts

NSO India released in 2018 a first publication on environmental-economic accounts in response to the Expert Group on “Green National Accounts in India” under chairmanship of Prof. Sir. Partha Dasgupta. The 2018 publication included asset accounts for land, forest, minerals and water. The second publication released in September 2019 is in part a continuation of the first publication where it focuses on the quality of soil and water assets, in part it is an expansion as it includes also the results of two ecosystem services – crop provisioning and nature-based recreation – that have been assessed and valued at the national scale. The full report is available here: http://www.mospi.gov.in/publication/envistats-india-2019-volii-environment-accounts


Surface water quality accounts have been prepared for the Godavari Rover Basin for the year 2015-2016 both on a monthly and annual basis, aggregating existing information from the Central Water Commission using Standard River Units. Water quality accounts were also compiled for groundwater in the States of Punjab and Haryana using data from the Central Ground Water Board. The report also includes the coastal water quality index as compiled by the National Council for Coastal Research. The picture that emerges is that water quality is a key concern in India.


Soil Nutrient Indices have been compiled using information regarding soil health based on the parameters that are being collected under the soil health card scheme of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers under two cycles (2015-2017 and 2017-2019). The account allows to assess the existing status and trends of macro and micro nutrients for different states of India.


The valuation of cropland ecosystem services was based on cost of cultivation studies, as well as information on area and production statistics of various types of crops. The valuation estimates have been compiled using the appropriation method, where resource rent is equated to the sum of the rental value of owned land and rent paid for leased-in-land. The results are presented as Rs/ha per district for 3 different periods (both in the form of maps and tables).


The report also includes monetary estimates of the current flow of nature-based tourism for two years using estimates from a direct expenditure approach using survey data on domestic tourism and other data sources such as Indian tourism statistics. The results are presented in the form of maps and are compared in the report with outcomes of the InVest recreation model. The outcomes should be considered as providing a conservative minimum estimate as they exclude secondary expenditure and other benefits of natural areas.


NSO India is currently piloting with ecosystem accounts as part of the EU-funded project “Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services”. A review mission took place from 4-9 September 2019 in which results and the work plan for the next year were discussed during a stakeholder consultation meeting. In addition to work on the national scale, a pilot is being conducted in 7 districts of Karnataka State, by the Indian Institute of Science.