The Center for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the Impact and Policy Research Institute, (IMPRI), organized a panel discussion on Thursday, The Environment and Union Budget 2022-22-23.
During the discussion Ashish KothariKalpavriksh Pune, founder-member, pointed out that the allocation was for the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)Despite the high levels in urban areas of air pollution, it has been reduced.
Kothari expressed concern over the absence of key terms such ecology, environment and ecosystem, as well as pollution and wildlife, in the budget speech. This was a sign of how serious the government is about environmental issues.
Dr Madhu Verma (World Resources Institute) Chief Economist stated that while the budget has been called a boost budget, it is not evenly distributed among all sectors. One can see an increase of the value given Clean India, Project Tiger and Project Elephant. This is despite the fact that there has been a decline in allocations over the last few years. We can see that there is a lot of ocean development, but that the budget for the National Coastal Mission has been reduced. However, India’s commitments at international level to address the environmental crisis are not being met by the budget allocation, she said.
Dr Sharachchandra, Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Policy and Governance Centre for Environment and Development Bengaluru, stated that any government has three tools available for the effective implementation fiscal, administrative, and legally. The budget is a fiscal instrument of the government. A budget is not a fiscal tool of the government. He stated that raising funds alone does not guarantee anything, unless there are significant changes to the structure and functioning.
Dr Lele said, “The regulatory part of the ministry for environment is completely destroyed in terms of how they function on the ground or internally when referring to environmental clearances, forests clearances.” The budget for Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has increased by 0.5 million, and the budget for National Green Tribunal has been increased by a few hundred thousand. The NGT benches do not function and the agency suffers because it does not have adequate fact-finding happening on the ground when petitions are brought to it.
Soumya Dutta was co-convener of South Asian Peoples Action on Climate Crisis, (SAPACC), and accused the government for being hypocritical about the issue.
The finance minister called climate change the greatest threat, while we saw a budgetary push to support high-emission and high-energy sectors. The 68% increase in road transport has been reported. The Ministry for Civil Aviation was one of the biggest polluters and was given Rs 10,677 million, more than the amount that the environment ministry was granted. He stated that several important factors such as air quality, disaster resilience and environmental sanitation were not given much thought.
In the Union budget for fiscal year 2022-223, Rs 3,030 crore was allotted to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. This was higher than the Rs 2,520 crore allocation in the last budget.