STRATEGY ON RESOURCE EFFICIENCY

  Why in News?NITI Aayog in collaboration with the European Union delegation to India have released the Strategy on Resource Efficiency (RE).Introduction• UNEP established the International Resource Panel (IRP) in 2007 as a central institution to provide independent scientific assessments on sustainable use of natural resources and their environmental impacts and policy approaches.• Various countries have taken relavant steps and pioneered in RE highlighting the need for similar steps to be taken by India. For exampleo German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess), ando European Commission’s Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.• The Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Indian Resource Panel (InRP) (in April 2017), launched the Indian Resource Efficiency Programme (IREP) to make resource use economically and environmentally sustainable.• IREP recommended the development of Strategy on Resource Efficiency for enhancing resource-use efficiency in Indian economy and industry.• The strategy focuses on abiotic material resources, excluding fossil fuels, of two strategic sectorsConstruction & Mobility (these sectors have witnessed high growth rate, are biggest consumers of materials, contribute significantly to GDP and employment in the country). Resource Use in IndiaVarious trends that reflect the increase in material consumption in India are-• Around 97% of all materials including biotic and nonrenewable materials consumed in the country are extracted domestically.• Extraction of primary raw materials increased by around 420% between 1970 and 2010.• In 2010, India’s material demand was the third largest in the world, after China and the United States. India consumed about 7.2% of globally extracted raw materials in that year.• Consumption patterns remain highly differentiated in India with an urgent need to reconcile the oversupply of resources and materials to the upper and middle classes and an undersupply along with severe lack of access of basic minimum resources for the poor.Need for Strategy on RE• With the background of higher economic growth, a thriving middle class, rapid urbanisation and a growing population, there has been an increase in the scale and intensity of resource use.• Thus, concerns over larger economic, social, political and environmental consequences like resource depletion, price shocks and rapid degradation of natural resource base have emerged which calls for a judicious use of resources urgently.• The SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production) also recognizes the potential of resource efficiency in resolving the short-term trade-offs between growth and environmental sustainability towards enhancing the overall security of human beings.About Resource Efficiency• It is the ratio between a given benefit or result and the natural resource use required for it. • It means using the Earth’s limited resources in a sustainable manner while minimising impacts on the environment.• It is closely linked with the concept of Circular Economy (which implies reusing wastes back into newproducts and uses, instead of wasting such potential resources).• However, resource efficiency encompasses a wider range of strategies through the entire life-cycle of products: Mining/Extraction Design Manufacturing/Production ??Use/Consumption??Disposal/Recovery• Since a single universally applicable indicator does not exist, the strategy recommends India to use GDP per Domestic Material Consumption for measuring RE in the initial phase. Benefits of RE• Economically:o Improves resource availability which translates into reduced price spikes due to supply constraints or disruptions.o Improves industrial competitiveness and profitability, since material cost is typically the largest cost for the manufacturing sector.o Creates new industries, including those in the recycling sector, as well as in innovative design andmanufacturing.o Improves the country’s trade balance and promote economic stability by reducing import dependence.• Socially:o Reduces extraction pressures, which may reduce conflict and displacement in mining areas, as well as improve health and welfare of local communities (since India’s mineral rich areas are under denseforests and inhabitated by indigenous communities).o Contributes to improved affordability of and access to resources critical for poverty reduction andhuman developmento Leads to job creation, not only in the recycling sectors, but also high skilled jobs in innovative design and manufacturing.o Contributes towards preserving resources for future generations.• Environmentally:o Helps to reduce ecological degradation and pollution associated with mining.o Provides opportunities for undertaking landscape restoration and regeneration of degraded mined areas.o Reduces waste generation which will not only reduce pollution associated with disposal but also save relatedcosts.o Reduces GHG emissions, since resource extraction anduse is highly energy intensive. Existing Policy Context in India• There are many existing policies influencing resource use at different lifecycle stages, viz.o Mining stage- National Mineral Policy includes zerowaste mining as a national goal and emphasizes the need to upgrade mining technology.o Design stage- Policies like the National Housing and Habitat Policy, 2007 and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), 2015 emphasize on developing appropriate ecological design standards for building components, materials and construction methods.o Manufacturing stage- “Make in India” provides specialassistance to energy efficient, water efficient and pollution control technologies through TechnologyAcquisition and Development Fund (TADF).o End-of-life stage- Policies to tackle all types of waste ranging from hazardous waste to Municipal Solid Waste  (MSW), Construction and Demolition (C) waste, plastic waste and e-waste.• However, their design, emphasis, integration or implementation is often suboptimal in terms of achieving RE goals.