Budget pitches for green credits to incentivize environmentally responsive action by individuals and companies
New Delhi, Feb 1, 2023
Treating 'green growth' as one of the seven priorities - called ‘Saptarishi’ (seven divine sages) guiding India through the 'Amrit Kaal' (next 25 years) - of the government, the Budget for 2023-24 on Wednesday proposed for launch of ‘green credit programme’ and multiple other initiatives in different sectors, including big push to sustainable farming through PM-Pranam, in addition to multi-crore energy transition plan.
The 'green credit programme' under the Environment (Protection) Act will incentivize environmentally sustainable and responsive actions by companies, individuals and local bodies, and help mobilize additional resources for such activities in tune with India's pitch for LiFE (lifestyle for environment) both domestically and at the global forum. The programme seeks to encourage behavioural change. India has been strongly advocating for an “environmentally conscious lifestyle” as one of the measures to reduce global carbon footprints.
“The “PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth” (PM-Pranam) will be launched to incentivize States and Union Territories to promote alternative fertilizers and balanced use of chemical fertilizers,” said finance minister Nirmala Sitharam while delivering her Budget speech in the Parliament.
PM-Pranam can be a major step towards saving the soil nutrients which are adversely affected by excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Besides, the government will facilitate 1 crore farmers to adopt natural (chemical pesticide/fertilizers-free) farming over the next three years. “For this, 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centres will be set-up, creating a national-level distributed micro-fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network,” said Sitharaman.
The Budget also proposed for conserving coastal ecosystem through ‘Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes’ (MISHTI), encouraging optimal use of wetlands, promoting circular economy through 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants under GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme, supporting states in replacing old vehicles and ambulances, and pushing for coastal shipping as the energy efficient and lower cost mode of transport.
MISHTI will be taken up for mangrove plantation along the coastline and on salt pan lands, wherever feasible, through convergence between MGNREGS, CAMPA fund and other sources.
The 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants will include 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants, including 75 plants in urban areas, and 300 community or cluster-based plants at a total investment of Rs 10,000 crore.
“In due course, a 5% CBG mandate will be introduced for all organizations marketing natural and biogas. For collection of bio-mass and distribution of bio-manure, appropriate fiscal support will be provided,” said Sitharaman.
She noted that all the green growth efforts will help in reducing carbon intensity of the economy and provide for large scale green job opportunities.
[The Times of India]