Come November, you will get a comprehensive picture — both quantity and value wise — of the minerals assets of the country under a single report.

The Government Accounting Standards Advisory Board (GASAB) will by mid-November publish a national report that would capture the Asset Accounts for Mineral and Energy Resources across 28 States and one Union Territory, its Chairman K Srinivasan has said.

The preparation of asset accounts for mineral and energy resources for 2020-21 is almost over in respect of 28 States and 1 Union Territory (J&K) and is being verified and validated by various stakeholders including the State Governments and GASAB field offices, Srinivasan, who is Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General, said here on Friday. 

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The asset accounts capture details of 34 major minerals, 58 minor minerals and all four fossils fuels. Once this report is published, policymakers will get a complete picture of mineral and energy resources in the country and this would help them take informed policy decisions and make appropriate interventions, Ram Mohan Johri, Additional Deputy CAG, said.

Electronic dashboard

He also said that an electronic dashboard with information (on asset accounts) will be hosted on the web. Also the work to compile the asset accounts for 2021-22 is already underway.

It maybe recalled that India is a signatory to the September 2016 UN General Assembly Resolution—“Transforming the World, the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development” which requires the preparation of Natural Resource Accounts (NRA).

Srinivasan said that India is aligned to the internationally accepted goal of putting in place natural resource accounts by 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. 

Linkages with SDGs

NRA has deep linkages with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as four out of the 17 goals directly relate to management of natural resources and their accounting, 

“Accounting is a more necessary goal for us as it will help us understand whether we are achieving other goals or not.  This goal on accounting is an enabler and would help achieve other goals better. This will give better decision-making capability to our policymakers. We will do our accounts in such a way that we can fulfill our substantial commitments say for instance net zero by 2070,” he said.

Asset accounts is the first stage of NRA with the final third stage being environmental accounting.

Mineral and energy resources are among the four major resources that India has chosen to prepare national level asset accounts. The other three are water resources; land resources; and forestry and wildlife resources. 

GASAB, which is part of CAG and constituted in 2002, is handholding the State Governments in preparation of Asset Accounts and helping them conform to the international obligations around NRA. 

GASAB had prepared a concept paper on NRA in July 2020, inter-alia envisaging short, medium and long term goals starting from 2020, of which the first goal was preparation of Asset Accounts on Mineral & Energy Resources, more importantly of the non-renewable and finite resources, which would ultimately aid in building resilience to environmental issues like climate change. 

Recognising the importance of natural resources, there was an attempt to develop accounting systems to help monitor their responsible utilisation, which will in turn lead to sustainability.

The UN had adopted (2012) the System of Economic and Environmental Accounting (SEEA)— central framework which is latest internationally accepted framework for NRA.