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‘Made In India’ Green Rankings: India Needs Its Own Benchmark To Track Progress Made On The Environmental Front

‘Made In India’ Green Rankings: India Needs Its Own Benchmark To Track Progress Made On The Environmental Front

Much debate has happened on the recently released Environmental Performance Index (EPI), in which India was ranked the worst country in the world. The Government of India (GoI) has rejected the ranking and called it “unscientific”. Many environmental researchers, including myself, have also questioned the methodology. In response, the report’s principal investigator has reportedly made the specious statement that “EPI does not aim to blame countries; rather, we seek to help them improve their environmental performance”. However, in the report, the EPI team has called low-ranking countries “laggards” and high-ranking countries “leaders”.

Moreover, the EPI team has not responded to the questions raised on their methodology. The EPI assessment, done by Yale and Columbia University, ranked 180 countries on 40 indicators related to climate change, air and water quality, ecosystem, and biodiversity. The best countries on EPI are Denmark, the United Kingdom, Finland, Malta and Sweden. The worst countries are in Asia and Africa. China was ranked 160th, Nigeria 162nd, Indonesia 164th, and India 180th.

The first thing to note is that this ranking has gone unnoticed in large parts of the world. China has not even murmured a word, and the media in other Asian countries and Africa has largely ignored it. Only in India has this ranking featured in prime-time shows and on the front page of newspapers. This is because we have an obsession with global recognition, especially recognition from the western world. We rejoice when anyone remotely connected with us attains some social stature or recognition in the US or Europe. We celebrate when an institution from the developed world ranks us higher on some indices. We cry foul if we are rated poorly. This fixation…

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