Budget 2022: Transition to Carbon Neutral Economy

India is pioneering a new economic development model that could bypass prominent carbon-intensive strategies and provide a blueprint for other developing economies. The two main pillars for mitigation efforts to achieve net-zero carbon ambition are- shift to clean and renewable energy sources and energy storage.

The Budget 2022, tabled by Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister, highlighted the effect of climate change and revealed plans to counter the adverse development that would impact the economy. While delivering the Budget, Sitharaman said that the ministry was working in line with statements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 Summit in Glasgow. 

The following efforts mentioned in the Budget will help India transition to a carbon-neutral economy:

  • Five to seven per cent of biomass pellets will be co-fired in thermal power plants resulting in CO2 savings of 38 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) annually. This will also provide additional income to farmers, job prospects to locals and help evade stubble burning in agriculture fields.
  • Saving energy is a critical aspect of energy management. Hence, energy efficiency and savings measures will be encouraged. This will be done in large commercial buildings through the Energy Service Company (ESCO) business model. It will enable capacity building and understanding for energy audits, performance contracts, and standard measurement and verification protocols.
  • Four pilot projects for coal gasification and coal conversion into chemicals required for the industry will be set up to develop technical and financial viability.
  • The policies that need legislative changes to boost agroforestry, and private forestry will be brought in. In addition, financial aid will be provided to farmers belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes who want to take up agroforestry.
  • As part of the government's overall market borrowings in 2022-23, sovereign Green Bonds will be issued to mobilise green infrastructure resources. The proceeds will be deployed in public sector projects, which will help lower the economy's carbon intensity.

The Economic Survey 2021-22 also reported that climate finance would remain crucial to successful climate action for India to attain its net-zero carbon emission target by 2070. The survey stated that India's performance on the Niti Aayog Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index improved from an all-around score of 60 in 2019-20 to 66 in 2020-21.

Addressing the parliament, President Kovind remarked, "Climate change is a significant challenge confronting the whole world at present. India has emerged as a responsible global voice on the subject."