Budget a lot of hot air, say activists

Namrata Devikar
Sunday, 2 February 2020

“The minister has conveniently forgotten that the overall allocation for the environment and climate change is less than urban development and defence. Also, the carbon emission is not going to reduce by just controlling air pollution. The same should be implemented to other important sectors as well,” Saraph said, adding targets should also have been mentioned. 

PUNE:  With good intentions but no action plan for climate change, the Union Budget has proposed allocation of Rs 4,400 crore to check and reduce air pollution in the cities under the . 

The Budget, however, does not focus on sustainable development and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) from the Paris agreement. NDCs are national climate plans that governments aim to implement in response to climate change.

 Anupam Saraph, Member of Climate Collective Pune and an environment expert said that Budget 2020 cannot stand up to the cut down the emission of carbon dioxide. 

“The minister has conveniently forgotten that the overall allocation for the environment and climate change is less than urban development and defence. Also, the carbon emission is not going to reduce by just controlling air pollution. The same should be implemented to other important sectors as well,” Saraph said, adding targets should also have been mentioned. 

Slight hope
However, private players have appreciated the government’s half-hearted initiatives to reduce carbon emission. KNM Rao, Founder and CEO, Quick Ride, car and bike ride pooling platform said that the finance minister’s commitment to kick-start the Paris Agreement Action plan and the proposal to allocate Rs 4,400 crore to implement the Clean Air programme is a step in the right direction.

“We hope the State and Central government will incentivise shared mobility concepts like carpooling, which reduces the number of vehicles on the road. Moreover, the 1.7 lakh crore allocated to bolster the transportation infrastructure in 2020-2021 is much needed,” said Rao.

What the budget states...

  • The finance minister highlighted the issue of high levels of carbon emission by old thermal power plants and discussed the government’s proposal to close such plants and use the vacated land for alternative purposes. 
  • Expressed concern about the lack of availability of clean air in cities having population above one million, encouraged states to take action. 
  • Rs 4,400 crore have been earmarked for this initiative between 2020 and 21 and the parameters for incentives would be notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change soon.

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