Based on findings from a baseline evaluation of the environmental performance of districts in Tamil Nadu, this study provides a policy framework for linking fiscal devolution to environment management in the future.
This project marks a pilot initiative to assess the level of environmental performance of the Districts of Tamil Nadu by constructing a District-level Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI). The ESI will provide the Districts and their respective governing authorities an analytical and operational framework that can be used to address specific environmental challenges in each District and examine their relevance with its corresponding development trajectory. This is part of the Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission’s exercise to develop District Human Development Reports and incorporate environmental sustainability concerns into the same.
The overall ESI is intended to serve as an analytical tool which informs relevant stakeholders of the current levels of sustainability at the District level. It is also a quantitative basis for State policy makers to understand the Districts’ strengths, weaknesses and capacity to maintain and improve their environmental performance. Specifically, the ESI is an aggregate of 45 indicators across nine key thematic areas such as Population Pressure, Land Use & Agriculture, Energy, Impact on Human Health & Ecosystem, Road & Transport, Water Supply & Quality, Forests & Environment, Sewage & Solid Waste Management and Manufacturing in District Output.
This study could constitute a baseline evaluation of environmental performance at the District level as well as it forms the basis for linking fiscal devolution to environment management in the future.