Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar today asserted that Government’s commitment to sustainable development is full and final. Delivering the Key Note Address at the 11th National Convention on Sustainable Development Goals organized by the Global Compact Network in Mumbai today, Mr. Javadekar said climate change was a reality with 1 degree rise in temperature caused by 150 years of uncontrolled carbon emission by the developed world. He said while 30% of cumulative contribution was that of the United States, Europe, Canada and other developed world accounted for 50% and China 10%, whereas India was responsible for only 3% carbon emission. “The developed world went ahead with business as usual scenario without bothering about environmental impact. Now it has happened, and we are suffering “ he added.
Elaborating on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision on climate change, Mr. Javadekar said “though India is not part of the problem, it wants to be part of the solution”. He said India being well aware of its responsibilities was committed to UN Goals on sustainable development. “Our commitment is reflected in every programme being pursued by the Government” he said.
The Minister listed out Government’s ambitious 175 Giga Watt renewable energy programme, covering solar, wind, hydro-power and nuclear energy as a major step in promoting environment friendly development. He said India had taken pro-active measures to discourage use of fossil fuels in a bid to reduce carbon foot print. “The Union Budget 2016-17 has levied a green cess of $6 (Rs 400) per tonne of coal. This is perhaps the highest levy in the world, as even the United States taxes coal at around $ 1. If the developed world followed India’s example and levied higher taxes on coal, billions of dollars would accrue to pursue clean energy programmes” Mr. Javadekar said.
The Minister also hailed the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, under which 50 million (5 crore) rural poor households will be given free LPG connections. He said “as the programme rolls out, every day 5,000 new homes will not be cutting down trees for firewood. This will be besides the health benefits for the women who cook.” He also listed out plans to control vehicular pollution by moving to Bharat VI emission norms, policies on waste management and massive tree plantation drive through the Compensatory Afforestaton Fund Bill 2015 as other measures aimed at sustainable development.
Environmental clearance should not be a roadblock
Mr Prakash Javadekar reiterated that environmental clearance should not become a road block for development. He said, while every effort should be made to ensure safeguard of the environment, development projects should not suffer due to delay. He said in the last 20 months, his Ministry has given environmental clearance to 900 projects entailing an investment of about Rs 6 lakh crores. The Minister said, while the 10 year average time for according environmental clearance was 600 days, his Ministry has brought down to 190 days with a plant to reduce it further to 100 days.
Sustainable solution for Metro Card Shed possible
Referring to the Mumbai Metro Car Shed at Aarey Colony controversy, Mr. Javadekar said there are sustainable solutions available to address the issue. “The technology is now available to replant grown up trees through mechanized uprooting and replanting them at an alternative site. Delhi Metro is a standing example in this regards, where for every one tree cut, five more trees were planted”, the Minister said.
CSR support sought for Maharashtra’s Jalyukta Shivar
Earlier, addressing the gathering, Maharashtra Industry Minister Subhash Desai said the prolonged drought, scanty rainfall, water scarcity and hailstorm in Maharashtra are serious wake up calls of climate change. He said the ‘Jalyukta Sivar’ water recharge programme being implemented by the Maharashtra Government was a true example of sustainable development, and called upon the industry leaders to support it through their CSR initiatives.
Today’s National Convention on Sustainable Development Goals is being attended by over 300 delegates, including 50 CEOs of leading Indian corporate like the Tata Group, Reliance Industries, Vedanta Resources, ONGC, Essar Group, the Birlas, L&T and the Adani Group among others. The industry leaders and policy makers discussed ways and means to broaden the horizons of growth and transformation under the theme ‘people, planet and prosperity’.
About United Nations Global Impact
United Nations Global Compact is a UN initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible polices, and to report on their implementation. Under the Global Compact, companies are brought together with UN agencies, labour groups and civil society. It is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with 13000 corporate participants and other stakeholders over 170 countries. The Global Compact Network India, an association of over 300 companies, functions as the Indian Local Network of UN Global Compact, New York.