[Burning Issue] Environmental Performance Index 2018

Why in News?

India ranks 177 among 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index 2018.

A drop in the rank from the last index demands a relook at the country’s environmental policy.

About Environmental Performance Index?

  1. It is a biennial report published by Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
  2. It ranks 180 countries based on 24 performance indicators.
  3. It is divided into 10 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem validity.
  4. Top rank in sustainability taken by Switzerland, followed by France, Denmark, Malta and Sweden in the recent EPI.

India’s status

  1. India at the 177th place is one of the bottom 5 countries on the index.
  2. The 177th place is a drop of 36 points from 141 in 2016.
  3. Emerging economies like Brazil and China ranks at 69 and 120.
  4. India is at the bottom of the environmental health category.
  5. In terms of air quality, India is at third last.
  6. Poor performance in the environmental health policy and high pollution-related deaths are the major factors in the overall drop.
  7. Other major causes include pollution from solid fuels, coal and crop residue burning and emissions from motor vehicles.
  8. Increasingly degrading air quality in India is attributed to the growth in population, industrial production, and automotive transportation.



  1. Air quality is the leading environmental threat to public health
  2. Over the past decade, the deaths due to a large rise in ultra-fine PM 2.5 particles in the country.
  3. An estimated 1.4 million premature deaths in India is due to Air pollution.


  1. Health impacts cause a serious loss in welfare equivalent to about 8% of GDP in 2013.
  2. The cost of labor productivity became 1.8% of GDP.
  3. Environmental degradation particularly affects the poor and further degrades their standard of living.

Measures taken

Over the past few years, the government has set some ambitious targets for environmental protection as follows

  1. Strict environmental standards for coal-fired power plants.
  2. Bharat Stage VI emission norms to be implemented from April 1, 2020.
  3. Initiatives to manufacture and sell electric vehicles in the country by 2030.
  4. Revision of National Solar Mission.
  5. Encouraging transition to renewable energy.
  6. The target for solar capacity revised from 20GW to 100 GW by 2022.
  7. Target to clean highly polluted Ganga by 2018.


  1. There is a huge gap between policy goals and enforcement.
  2. On solar targets, India seems to be moving in the right path. However, balancing it with other goals is seriously lacking.
  3. For example,
  • The government has relaxed its promise of implementing strict power plant emission norms by December 2017.
  • The 30% annual E-waste collection target by manufacturers has been relaxed to 10%.
  1. The automobile industry has stated that full conversion to electric vehicles is possible only by 2047 which is in contrast to the government’s targets.
  2. In the clean Ganga initiative, there have been delays in creating an action plan and lack of proper fund utilization.

Way forward

  1. In order to address the environmental problems, there is a need to recognize the environmental costs of development.
  2. Subsidies shall be given in order to accelerate the transition to renewable, particularly solar energy.
  3. More polluting fuels should be priced higher.
  4. The environmental standards for coal power plants should be strict.
  5. Petrol and Diesel should be priced higher in order to aid the transition to electric vehicles.
  6. More political will is required to effectively implement the existing environmental laws and regulations.
  7. Considering India’s poor performance in the index, the government should take forward the environmental targets seriously.

Practice question

  1. “India’s performance in the recent Environmental Performance Index was poor”. Discuss various reasons for the same and suggest suitable measures to improve India’s ranking.
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?IAS 2020
?IAS 2020
5 years ago

Dear CivilsDaily,

Please provide compilation of Burning issues. Sincere request you are doing amazing work. It is difficult to note everyday articles. I am already following your app updates regularly still i prefer to have Hard copy. Atleast provide in pdf form at the end of the article. Hope you will consider sincere request.

Thank you CivilsDaily

tanay rathi
tanay rathi
5 years ago
Reply to  ?IAS 2020
?IAS 2020
?IAS 2020
5 years ago
Reply to  tanay rathi

Dear Tanay many websites providing compilation free and here 100 rs is charged. Look at Insightsonindia IAS Baba Forum Ias and even Vision is providing monthly compilation of current affairs. I am not asking hard copy. Hope you can understand our concerns. I am following CivilsDaily app regularly. I have spoken to Prayas sir. He listened to my query. Hope sir will resolve.

Thank you


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