Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused the Congress of labeling the youth of Varanasi "drug addicts", taking a dig at the opposition INDIA bloc.
Since time immemorial, India has remained the hub of climate protection and environmental sustainability. A substantial chunk of folklore literature and practices geared at taking a holistic view of the natural resources remain the solid foundation on which mainstream narrative of Indian society is built.
However, there has been a renewed focus over the climate protection in the recent past. India’s international image has been on the path of widening its reach and clout of late, and now India has assumed the G-20 Presidency. India is emerging as an inspiration for countries across the globe, particularly on the fact that how economic development and conservation of environment can go hand in hand. India has become the fastest in renewal energy capacity addition among major economies that had added over 100 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by the end of 2021 with the vision of 500 gigawatts by 2030.
India now has the lowest cost for large-scale solar power in the world-another spectacular achievement of its traditional skill at supply-side process innovation. India has tremendous potential to lead the world in green energy and she will forward the cause of global good apart from generating green jobs.
In that context, the Ministry of Power recently led the first post-budget webinar on green growth with discussions taking place in 6 parallel sessions on the 12 announcements made under the Union Budget this year. With over 1100 participants from the industry, academia, state governments as well as concerned stakeholders, the deliberations for finalisation towards an action plan for implementation of the aspects of the green growth took place. With the first session on storage and inter-state transmission systems as well as the Green Hydrogen Mission, the second session deliberated on the GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme that aims to support villages in effectively managing their cattle and biodegradable waste under Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen-Phase II.
The third session discussed the green credit programme, MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes) scheme that will facilitate mangrove plantation along India’s coastline and on salt pan lands. This new programme has sole objective to intensive afforestation of coastal mangrove forests. India has such forests on both its Eastern and Western coasts with the Sundarbans in Bengal being one of the largest mangrove forests on the planet. Additionally, the Amrit Dharohar initiative will encourage optimal use of wetlands and preservation, and enhance bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism Page 2 of 3 prospects and income generation for local communities with an outlook for them to be caretakers of the ecosystem.
The fourth session deliberated on PM-PRANAM (Prime Minister Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth) that will seek to incentivise the entire country for promoting alternative fertilisers and the balanced use of chemical fertilisers. The programme aims to ultimately bring down the government’s subsidy burden, which is estimated to reach INR 2.25 lakh crore in 2022-23 i.e. 9 per cent higher than last year’s figure of INR 1.62 lakh crore and they are posing multiple risks including health hazards by entering into our food chains and responsible for environmental degradation as well. To further facilitate the adoption of “natural farming,” 10,000 Bharatiya Prakrutik Kheti Bio-Input Resources Centres will be set-up, creating a national-level distributed micro-fertiliser and pesticide manufacturing network.
With the enormous potential to lead the world in green energy sector and generate green jobs, the Government of India invited each global energy player to invest in India. It must be pointed out that India achieved the target of 40% contributions from non-fossil fuels in the installed electricity capacity nine years before the target date, of 10% ethanol blending in petrol five months before time and is next aiming to strike the 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2025-26 instead of 2030 further ahead.
Whether it is the initiative to deal with the challenges of climate change through Mission LiFE or showing the world a path towards solution through the Panchamrit (five ambrosia: a proposal of five-fold strategy for India to play its part in helping the world get closer to 1.5 degrees Celsius declared at the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in November 2021 at Glasgow), India has always set an example.
By choosing a path where economy and ecology can both co-exist happily, India has been able to protect the environment without blocking a large number of infrastructural projects. While the renewable energy capacity in 2014 was pegged at 20GW, the ambitious target set for 2022 was 100 GW of renewable energy capacity. However, India has been able to achieve this goal much before the decided timeline, ensuring that the cost of solar energy drastically reduced from INR 16/unit to INR 2/unit as on date.
Today, India has the lowest cost of setting up renewable energy capacity and its cost of green hydrogen is touted to be the most competitive in the world in near future. Therefore, India is poised to transform from a net importer of energy to becoming a net Page 3 of 3 exporter of energy. Within the next 6 years, India’s renewable energy capacity has increased by more than 250% ~ which in itself is a rapid pace of growth for any country, especially a developing country with 140 crore individuals. As a result, India is now a global leader in renewable energy with third-largest production of renewable energy in the world, fourth-largest installed wind power capacity, and fifth-largest installed solar power capacity.
Despite the fact that the nation consists of over 17% of the world population, it only accounts for about 5% of global emissions. In spite of such meagre contributions to emissions, India has announced a number of measures to tackle climate change with Mission LiFE – aimed at changing the mantra of lifestyle, the Pradhan Mantri Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) – a non-subsidised indigenous lighting programme.
In addition, the Government of India has also initiated major reforms with missions like the Green Hydrogen Mission, renewable energy evaluation storage projects, the Green Credit programme, PM-PRANAM, Gobardhan scheme, Bhartiya Prakrutik Kheti Bio-input Resource Centres, MISHTI, Amrit Dharohar initiatve, coastal shipping replacement, Vehicle scrapping policy for cities, PM-KUSUM Yojana, etc. which are spread across 13 Ministries as part of the green growth agenda of the nation.
India has already been able to start off on a firm footing while the world is still grappling with the idea. Energy transition holds monumental significance in the new world order and has the capacity to influence and necessarily determine geopolitical transitions as well. Therefore, this urgency to become self-sufficient as well as meet the energy needs of not just its own people but the larger global community is about doing the right thing and it may well propel India further on to global superpower.