During 2014-15, the Centre has been assigned the following tasks
Functions of the Economic Cell
- Economic Cell of the Ministry is headed by the Economic Adviser working under the supervision of the Senior Adviser. It is responsible for the following areas of work:
- All matters pertaining to the Cabinet/ Cabinet Committees (Cabinet Notes), and Committee of Secretaries, and also providing comments on policy matters received from various Ministries.
- All matters having bearing on internal and external economic management in the Ministry and reform in the environment and forest sectors.
- Formulation, Implementation and Monitoring of Work Plans of the Centre of Excellence in Environment Economics, Madras School of Economics, Chennai.
- Development of Green Public Procurement Guidelines.
- Appraisal of environmentally-friendly proposals relating to fiscal incentives, and recommendation on inclusion of the same in Union Budget proposals – Budget proposals.
- Providing material for Economic Survey of M/o Finance, Finance Minister’s Budget Speech, etc.
- Nodal Division for handling and coordinating all matters referred by the Ministry of Finance.
- Nodal Division to monitor implementation of specific announcements in the Union Budget concerning Ministry of Environment & Forests.
- Secretariat for the Sectoral Committee to Review the Release and Utilization of the Grants-in-Aid for State Specific Needs recommended by the Thirteenth Finance Commission.
- Compliance under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003.
- Gender Budgeting issues.
- Parliament Questions on policy matters
Centre of Excellence for Environment Economics, Madras School of Economics (MSE), Chennai
The Centre of Excellence in Environmental Economics, Madras School of Economics (CoE-MSE), Chennai was set up under the ‘Centres of Excellence’ (CoE) Plan Scheme of the Ministry on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into between the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Madras School of Economics in 2002. Its objective is to address issues of national importance with focus on economic aspects of the environment. The MOU was extended during the Eleventh Five Year Plan, which was also decided to be continued in the Twelfth Five Year Plan. This Centre of Excellence is under the administrative charge of the Economic Cell. The Senior Advisor in the Ministry serves as a member on the Governing Board of MSE.
Under the Central Sector Scheme of Centres of Excellence, Plan funds are allocated to CoE-MSE annually as per its Action Plan drawn up on the recommendations of the Steering Committee constituted under the MOU. The Steering Committee is headed by the Senior Advisor of the Ministry and includes the Additional Secretary & Financial Adviser and Economic Adviser among its Members, apart from the Coordinator at MSE of the Centre and other Experts. The funds are released to the Centre in project specific mode to meet approved expenditures on research studies, Workshops, Seminars, etc. and for the maintenance of its website. Two Steering Committee Meetings of CoE-MSE were held in 2014-15 i.e; on 17th April 2014 and 20th December 2014, respectively.
Performance/ Achievements/ Progress made in 2014-15, including projected activities, with physical and financial targets and actual performance:
During 2014-15, the Centre has been assigned the following tasks:
- Concept paper clearly identifying India’s stand on the environmental goods agreement that some fourteen WTO members have launched in the forum of plurilateral negotiation.
- Out of the four Dissemination Papers identified by the Steering Committee for 2014-15, two dissemination papers ‘Behavioral Economics & Environment’ by Dr. L. Venkatachalam; and ‘Urbanization & Environment’ by Dr. Zareena Begum have been published.
CoE Newsletters: “Green Thoughts” (biannual publication)
- Out of the two issues assigned to the Centre in 2014-15, one issue was brought out by the Centre.
Visiting Researcher Fellowship Programme
The objective of this programme as outlined in the Vision Document, 2012-17 of CoE-MSE is to invite at least one researcher per year to spend a couple of months at the Centre. The programme was approved in the year 2008.
Dr. Pranab Mukhopadhyay, Professor, Economics Department, Goa University visited the Centre during October-November 2014. He has given a seminar on ‘Economic Growth and Ecological Sustainability in India’ at MSE on 26th November 2014. He will be submitting working paper on this topic by February 2015. Two MSE working papers have been published on the basis of work done by Visiting Researchers at the Centre during 2014-15 which include (a) Perspectives on Valuation of Biodiversity by Dr. M.S. Suneetha and (b) Group Inequalities and Scanlan’s Rule: Two Apparent Conundrums and How we might Address them’ by Dr. Peter J. Lambert and S. Subramanian.
Environmental Economics Website
The Centre’s state-of-the-art website http://coe.mse.ac.in has been updated to make it more user-friendly. Efforts have been made to augment the database on environmental economics literature. A number of Indian studies have also been added to the database. The website is serving as one-stop destination for users interested in environmental economics related issues in India. Under various sub-disciplines of environmental economics and resource economics, about 7,500 articles published in referred journals have been categorized. This searchable database enables the users to access information and the abstract of the publications and also provides scope for carrying out comprehensive literature review.
For the financial year 2014-15, preparation of two bibliographic notes was part of work plan (i) ‘Water Pollution Impacts’ and (ii) ‘Biofuels’ out of which note on ‘Water Pollution Impacts’ has been completed.
The Vision Document, 2012-17 of CoE-MSE also envisages conducting of at least one training program per year on issues related to Environmental Economics, either through funding from the Ministry or other sources. For the current year 2014-15, the Centre organized a three-day training program on ‘Environmental Fiscal Reforms: International Experience and Relevance for India’ for the officers of the eastern states including Odisha, Bihar and West Bengal during 30th October – 1st November 2014 at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. The training program was inaugurated by the Senior Adviser, MoEF&CC. The Centre had submitted its report to the Ministry on successful completion of the training program, in the second week of December 2014.
Budget allocation during 2014-15
The Budget Estimates (BE) of CoE-MSE for the year 2014-15 was ₹ 0.55 crore. As on 31.12.2014, a total amount of Rs. 0.40 crore was released during the year.