News Excerpt
The biennial Environment Performance Index (EPI) was released by the Yale University. It measures the environmental performance of 180 countries.

Pre-Connect
•    Denmark has ranked first in the world, followed by Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Japan has ranked 12th, the United States of America ranks 24th, and China stands at 120th.
•    The EPI 2020 provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world.
•    It uses 32 performance indicators across 11 issue categories.

India and EPI
    India secured 168 rank in the 12th edition of EPI. The country scored 27.6 out of 100 in the 2020 index. India’s rank was 177 (with a score of 30.57 out of 100) in 2018.
    India scored below the regional average (South Asia) score on all five key parameters on environmental health, including air quality, sanitation and drinking water, heavy metals and waste management.
    India has also scored below the regional average on parameters related to biodiversity and ecosystem services too.
    Ten years ago, these same metrics would have given India a rank of 163rd in the world. The EPI finds essentially no overall improvement in India's environmental performance over the past decade, though there are gains and losses on individual issues.

Reason for India’s Low Ranking
     India is the significant emitters of greenhouse gases which deteriorate environment; though there are recent gains in renewable energy investments but remain shortfall to compensate overall GHG. Additionally, the data show India is not on track to decarbonize quickly enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
    Low EPI scores for India suggest a need for national sustainability efforts on a number of fronts, including air and water pollution, biodiversity protection, and the transition to a clean energy future.
    India has already taken several steps in order to cope with environment sustainability Few of them are-
EPI Parameter    Environmental Conservation Programmes in India
Climate Change    1.    National Action Plan on Climate Change
2.    National Action Programme to Combat Desertification
Pollution Control    1.    National Clean Air Program
Biodiversity and habitat    1.    Project Elephant, Project Tiger
2.    National Parks etc.
Forest Protection    1.    National Afforestation Programme
2.    CAMPA

Analytica
    EPI indicators provide a way to spot problems, set targets, track trends, understand outcomes, and identify best policy practices. Good data and fact-based analysis can also help government officials refine their policy agendas, facilitate communications with key stakeholders, and maximize the return on environmental investments.
    The EPI offers a powerful policy tool in support of efforts to meet the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to move society toward a sustainable future.
    The EPI offers a scorecard that highlights leaders and laggards in environmental performance and provides practical guidance for countries that aspire to move toward a sustainable future.

Way Ahead for India
    India needs to re-double national sustainability efforts on all fronts. There is dire need to focus on a wide spectrum of sustainability issues ranging in India, with a high priority to critical issues such as air and water quality, biodiversity, and climate change.
    India should take a leap in reducing the overall GHG emission, over-reliance on fossil-based power generation, Non-compliance of pollutant related norms and many others.