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Here are the Reasons Why the Current Budget is at a Loss When It Comes to Environment

Here are the Reasons Why the Current Budget is at a Loss When It Comes to Environment

Kochi:The Union Budget 2022 was presented by Nirmala Sitharaman (finance minister) to the parliament on February 1. Researchers find that the budget is lacking in several areas, despite this refreshing focus.

Environmentalists claim that the budget does not provide much funding for the environment and its protection. They fear that the focus on infrastructure development and megaprojects will only exacerbate the environmental degradation already occurring in India.

The good news

First, the good news.

Sitharaman stated that the government will be promoting natural, chemical-free farming beginning with farmers living near the Ganga. The Union government also increased allocations to the Jal Jeevan Mission, from a revised estimate at Rs 45,011 crore to an estimated budget of Rs 60,000 crore in the fiscal year 2022-22. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), has an estimated total expenditure of Rs 3,030 million, which is more than the Rs 2,520 crore spent in FY22. The government spent Rs 150 crore on the Deep Ocean Mission in FY22. This year, Rs 650 crore was allocated in the budget. Allocations for the National Mission for Green India and Project Tiger, as well as funds to combat pollution, have seen an increase in allocations compared to last.

India’s climate targets, including the recent announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modis that India will achieve net zero emission by 2070, have meant that urgent action is required to transition to clean energy. This was evident in the Union Budget.

The budget listed four priorities: energy transition and climate action, along with productivity enhancement and investments and sunrise opportunities. In her budget speech, the finance minister made several climate-related announcements. She announced an additional allocation for production-linked incentive (PLI) to support the manufacture of high-efficiency photovoltaic modules.

This is not a new idea. R.K. Singh is the power and new and sustainable energy minister. AnnouncedThe Union government announced in November that it will increase funding under the PLI scheme to domestic solar cells and module production to Rs 24,000 crore, from Rs 4500 crore.

In order to transition to a carbon neutral economy, 5-7% of biomass pellets will be cofired in thermal power stations, resulting in CO2 reductions of 38 million metric tons per year, Sitharaman stated in her budget speech. She also stated that this would help to avoid stubble burning in agricultural fields.

This is a positive decision: co-firing biomass with coal can result both in a reduction in coal dependence as well as a sharp decrease in pollution levels. Down to Earth. It is a one-of-a-kind idea, however. RecommendedCommission for Air Quality Management of the Union governments

The government is also planning to implement a battery swapping policy in support of electric vehicle development. A battery swap is the exchange of an empty electric car battery for a charged one. This is a move that can reduce the long refuelling time that is one of zero-emission vehicles’ major drawbacks.

Sovereign Green Bonds are issued to mobilize resources for green infrastructure. The proceeds will be used in public sector projects that help reduce the economy’s carbon intensity. Four pilot projects are included in the budget for coal gasification. This is the process of converting coal into chemicals that can be used to generate electricity. Sitharaman stated that special mobility zones in urban areas will be promoted with zero fossil-fuel policy.

‘More jargon, less incentives on clean energy’

The increased funding under the PLI scheme, the inclusion of a ‘zero fossil fuel’ policy, electric vehicle policy, battery-swapping and coal gasification policy are all steps in the right direction, said energy economist Vibhuti Garg, Lead India, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Furthermore, the launching of “sovereign green bonds” will also help reduce the carbon intensity of the economy and enable access to a large pool of money for the energy transition, she added.

While jargon terms such as “Energy Transition”, “Climate Finance” and “Inclusive Growth” were mentioned multiple times in the budget speech, the announcements appear to fall short of promoting clean energy in an accelerated manner, she further said.

An increase in capex at a macro level will boost economic growth. However, there has been no additional budgetary support or tax incentive for clean energy grid and off-grid such as solar rooftop, storage technologies, green hydrogen, or green hydrogen. She wrote that this is despite the expectation that these new technologies will be supported to increase their commercial viability. The Wire Science.

She said that India’s ambitious target to produce 500 gigawatts of non- fossil fuel energy by 2030 will require support for new technologies.

The government should have allocated a budget and reduced duties to permit rooftop solar, storage, offshore wind, green hydrogen, etc. Further, [it]She noted that it did not mention support for the closing of inefficient fossil fuel plant, nor did it address increasing air pollution problems.

Although the Union government had made very specific allocations for air pollution in its previous budget (it had allocated Rs 2,217 crore for 42 cities with over one million people), this year there are not additional funds to address the issue. According to the Implementation document, however, there have been several steps taken under this heading. According to the document, the 15th Finance Commission identified 42 urban centers and state monitoring programmes that are being established to combat air pollution.

Nityanand Jakarman, activist and writer from the Vettiver Collective said that climate action allocations are inadequate. He pointed out that the Climate Change Action Plan allocation is Rs 30 crore.

This is absurd for a country as large as India. It is less than the allocation for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s regional offices (Rs 50 crores), he said.

Although the budget prioritized climate action as one the four pillars and explicitly acknowledged climate risks, it did not provide a boost to climate adaptation and resilience, according to Abinash Mohanty, programme leader, Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

While the budget made a renewed emphasis on urban planning as one of its key takeaways, it did not mention climate-proofing these infrastructure and investments. India has suffered an average loss of $87 million annually as a result. More than 75% Indian districts are considered extreme event hotspots.

Infrastructure comes at a cost

It includes the development of dense charging infrastructure and grid-scale batteries systems that will help India meet its climate targets. However, large-scale projects could have adverse impacts on the environment. The PM Gati Shakti scheme has envisioned a number of infrastructure projects. Although the finance minister claimed that all infrastructure development will be done using clean energy, the scale of these projects makes that seem uncertain.

Sitharaman says that this year, the country will have 25,000 km of new national highways. A government spokesperson said that Rs 20,000 crore would be used to fund this project through innovative financing options that will complement the public resources. Press release.

To aid states in their infrastructure development, the Union government will also be allocating a staggering Rs 15,000 crore this year. Sitharaman stated that these loans will be 50-year, interest-free loans. This is in addition to the normal borrowing that states can apply for. These loans will also finance projects under PM Gati Shakti.

See Also

Land Conflict WatchThe data research agency, which tracks disputes over natural resources, discovered that infrastructure projects impact more than 15 million hectares of land in India. According to data, there are currently 315 ongoing conflicts around infrastructure projects. This could rise with the increase in infrastructure projects.

Jayaraman said that budgetary allocations to schemes and projects with significant climate-related potential and impacts upon biodiversity and livelihoods are tens or thousands of times higher than those for climate change action, polluting control, and biodiversity preservation.

Gati Shakti alone, with its seven engines of growth (roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways, logistics infrastructure), will be sufficient to drive the last few nails into India’s ecological coffin. These infrastructures of megacommerce will replace the infrastructures for survival of ordinary Indians. They will also worsen social inequality, environmental degradation, and social inequalities.

More river-linking initiatives are in the works

The controversial and ambitious Ken-Betwa river link project was just a precursor to much more. Sitharaman announced that five additional river linking projects have received their draft Detailed Project Reports. These are the Par-Tapi Narmada, Damanganga–Pinjal and the Godavari-Krishna-Krishna-Krishna-Pennar, Pennar-Cauvery, and the Damanganga–Pinjal.

The finance minister stated that the Union government will support the implementation of the agreement once it has been reached by all the beneficiaries states.

For FY23, she also announced Rs 1,400 Crore for the controversial and ambitious Ken-Betwa river connecting project. The project has been heavily criticized by water experts, conservationists, activists (both Social environmental() for the numerous adverse hydrological, social, and environmental effects it would have within the Bundelkhand district of Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh.

Although the budget talks about climate action, protecting the environment, it also promotes environmentally destructive river-linking programs. Jairam Ramesh, Rajya Sabha member, and former environment minister, wrote on Twitter after the budget announcement.

The Budget talks about climate action, protecting the environment. It pushes for ecologically harmful river-linking projects. It sounds nice to talk. But actions are more important. That is what the Modi government has done. [sic]This is a dangerous road.

 

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