Union Budget 2020-21 Environmental Aspects

Budget 2020-21: This year’s budget has seen allocations to several fields such as clean air, renewable power and energy which can be considered as a step towards climate change mitigation.

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It is also in line with keeping up with the implementation of the Paris Agreement in 2021. The Paris Agreement is an agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which deals with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Consequently, the power and renewable energy sector has been allocated Rs 22,000 crore.

A sum of 4400 crore is allocated to a clean-air action plan which is nearly ten times higher than the previous allocation. It will cover millions-plus cities which primarily face severe air-pollution. The national mission for green india has been allocated 311 crore which is higher than previous year’s 240 crore. It aims to restore and protect the diminishing forest cover and mitigate climate change by various adaptation and mitigation strategies in India and is among NAPCC’s ( National Action Plan on climate change) eight missions to combat climate change. A sum of 40 crores has been allocated to Climate change action plan which is the same as that of last year’s budget.

According to some environmentalists, more allocation towards Climate Change Action Plan was expected. Tigers and Elephants have taken a fair sum of the budget with 300 crore and 35 crore allocations to Project Tiger and Project Elephant respectively.  The National Tiger Conservation Authority which is a statutory body under the environment ministry holding the responsibility for carrying out tiger census and checking conservation has been allocated 10.5 crores.

The National Afforestation Programme has been allocated 246 crore, it is one of the schemes of the ministry to afforest degraded forest areas. The National Coastal Mission which comes under environment ministry and is responsible for ensuring security and livelihood of coastal people along with promoting sustainable practices has been allocated 103 crore. A sum of 800 crore has been given to the Namami Gange programme which is a flagship programme of Modi government. This allocation has disappointed many people however it is higher than last budget but still lower than previous allocations of 2500 crores, 2300 crores in years 2016, 2017 respectively.

The Finance Minister also drew attention towards the KUSUM ( Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyaan) scheme in her budget speech, under which 2 million more farmers will be provided with solar-pumps. Also, exemptions in GST can be seen in solar and wind energy installations and equipment. All in all, mentioning Paris Agreement Commitments in budget and the sums allocated shows the government takes climate change seriously. Also it is in a good spirit as it raises awareness and understanding the issues regarding climate change.

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