With seven priorities, the Saptarishi, guiding India into its Amrit Kaal, Nirmala Sitaraman tabled a pioneering green development model. Shaping the Indian narrative in favour of decarbonisation and encouraging green energy as a significant component of transformational changes, the Hon’ble Finance Minister infused a renewed sense of vigour into the five nectar elements, the ‘Panchamrit’ of India’s climate action, declared by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. The ambition to achieve the target of net zero emissions by 2070, and India’s discernible push for Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) as chair of the G20 envisions a resilient tomorrow.
The National Green Hydrogen Mission is a core lever to catalyse meaningful change in the economy. With an outlay of INR 19,700 crore ($ 2.4 Bn), the mission aims to render India a market leader in the sector. With a vision for effective energy transition, an outlay of INR 35,000 crores ($ 4.3 Bn) was announced. The “Sustainable Cities for Tomorrow” are being forged through urban planning reforms that are set to be implemented through the length and breadth of the country. Emphasis was laid on efficient use of land resources, development of resilient urban infrastructure and on states buildin credit worthiness for municipal bonds.
A critical pillar for achieving sustainability is enhancing battery energy storage. The government announced its support for setting up a battery energy storage of 4,000MwH through viable gap funding “to steer the economy.” Driving behavioural change, a Green Credit Programme will be notified under the Environment (Protection) Act. This will incentivize environmentally sustainable and responsive actions by companies, individuals and local bodies, and help mobilise additional resources for such activities. The PM-PRANAM (PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth) Scheme is set to promote alternate fertilisers and the balanced use of chemical fertilisers.
A key enabler of the circular economy model is the GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme that sets out to create 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants. These will include 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants, including 75 plants in urban areas, and 300 community or cluster-based plants with a total investment of INR 10,000 crore ($ 1.2 Bn). This will allow resources to stay in the loop for a longer time, which will reduce waste production, consequently minimising climate change.
Urging farmers to adopt natural farming, Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centres were announced. The Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) builds upon India’s afforestation successes and prioritises mangrove plantation along the coastline and on salt pan lands through convergence between MGNREGS, CAMPA Fund and other sources. In a wetland preservation drive, the Amrit Dharohar scheme will be implemented to assimilate unique local conservation values to sustain biological diversity. The budget also promoted energy efficiency in coastal shipping. Lastly, furtherances in the vehicle scrapping policy were announced in an initiative to go green.
As India looks to the future, it seeks to pursue an inclusive and sustainable growth trajectory by ensuring responsible consumption and sustainable resource management.