Sustainability in India’s Budget 2020-21: On 1st February 2020, Union Finance Minister Niramala Sitaraman presented the Union Budget for the year 2020-21 in the Lok Sabha. In her Budget speech, Sitharaman mentioned three critical elements of development: aspirational India, development and a caring society. All these are critical part of sustainable development goals.
Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE)
- Over the past three years, the allowance for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had stayed below ₹5,000 crores. This year, the allocation has gone up to ₹5,753 crores to the ministry.
- The government would increase the capacity of renewables to 450 GW by 2030. As of December 2019, 86 GW of renewable energy—including 34 GW of solar and 38 GW of wind energy has been installed.
Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MOEFCC)
- Budget 2020-21 allocated Rs 3100 crore for MOEFCC, out of which Rs 460 crore has been allotted to control pollution, which is the same as the money it received in the last budget.
- Rs 4,400 crore has been allocated to give incentives to large cities (more than one million population) to formulate plans for ensuring ‘cleaner air’. MOEFCC will notify the parameters for such incentives.
- Old thermal power plants that do not meet prescribed emission norms will be asked to close down and their land will be used for unspecified alternative purposes.
- The Indian Railways targets to electrify 27,000 km of tracks. The government plans to power railways through large-scale solar farms on land near tracks. The measures are in line with the Indian railways’ aim to be a net-zero emitter before 2030.
- India’s Budget 2020-21 recognised water stress as a serious concern and proposed comprehensive measures for 100 water stressed districts in the country.
Agriculture & Allied Sectors:
- India’s Budget 2020-21 also mentions the need to use organic fertilizers and change the existing incentive regime that encourages farmers to use chemical fertilisers.
- Budget 2020 proposes to put in place a framework for sustainable management and development of the ‘blue’ economy. India is the second largest exporter of fish and development of fisheries has to be done in a sustainable manner.
- Reiterating India’s commitment to climate action, Sitharaman said a lot of work under the 2015 Paris Agreement would kick in from January 1, 2021, on the “best effort basis”. India would execute all its climate action targets under the 2015 Paris Agreement under the normal budgetary provisions,” she added, in line with India’s stand of urging developed countries to fulfill their financial commitments under global climate action.
- India has consistently maintained that finance remains a major roadblock and that it has been fulfilling its targets by relying on domestic budgetary resources. “The two global initiatives of Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and International Solar Alliance (ISA) would help India to enhance climate action, disaster resilience and address various sustainable goals,” Sitharaman said.