Prime Minister Narendra Modi today blamed large modern nations for not only exploiting more and more resources of the earth but emitting maximum carbon while asserting that India was making multifaceted efforts to protect the environment even though its role in climate change was negligible.
Modi noted that the average carbon footprint of the world was about four tonne per person per annum compared to just about 0.5 tonne per person per annum in India. India was working on a long term vision in collaboration with the International community on protecting the environment and established organisations like the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and the International Solar Alliance, he said, reiterating India’s goal of ”Net-Zero by 2070”.
The PM was addressing a ‘Save Soil’ programme organised by the Isha Foundation on World Environment Day. Appreciating the ‘Save Soil Movement’, he said that at a time when the nation was taking new pledges during the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, such movements acquired a new importance. He expressed satisfaction that key programmes of the last eight years have been designed keeping environment protection in mind.
Modi informed that to save the soil, his government has focused on five main things: how to make the soil chemical free; how to save the organisms that live in the soil which are called Soil Organic Matter in technical language; how to maintain soil moisture and how to increase the availability of water; how to remove the damage happening to the soil due to less groundwater; and how to stop the continuous erosion of soil due to the reduction of forests.
He said efforts were being made in the agriculture sector to alleviate the problem of soil issues. The PM said that earlier, the farmers lacked information about the type of soil, deficiency in soil and how much water was there. To overcome these problems, a huge campaign was launched to give soil health cards to the farmers in the country.
Modi said the government was connecting the people of the country with water conservation through campaigns like ”Catch the Rain”. In March this year, a campaign to conserve 13 big rivers was also started in the country. In this, along with reducing pollution in water, work was also being done to plant forests on the banks of rivers. Estimates were that this would add a forest cover of 7400 sq km to the 20000 sq km forest cover in India that has been added in the last 8 years, he said.
The PM noted that the policies related to Biodiversity and Wildlife that India was following today have also led to a record increase in the number of wildlife. Today whether it was tiger, lion, leopard or elephant, the number of all was increasing in the country.
He said that in natural farming, there was a big solution to some of India’s biggest problems. He noted that in this year’s budget, the government has decided to encourage natural farming in the villages situated on the banks of Ganga which would make a huge corridor of natural farming.
”This will not only make our farms chemical free but the Namami Gange campaign will also gain new strength,” he said, adding that India was working on the goal of restoring 26 million hectare land by 2030.
The Prime Minister further informed that India has achieved the target of sourcing 40% of its installed power generation capacity from non-fossil-fuel 9 years ahead of schedule. Solar energy capacity has increased by 18 times and policies like Hydrogen Mission and Circular economy related policies, scrappage policy were examples of the government’s commitment to environment protection, he said.
The PM disclosed that today India has achieved the target of 10 percent ethanol blending, 5 months ahead of schedule. Elaborating on the enormity of the achievement, he said that in 2014 ethanol blending was at 1.5 per cent. There were three clear benefits of achieving this goal, he explained. First, it has led to a reduction of 27 lakh tonnes of carbon emission. Second, it has saved foreign exchange worth Rs 41000 crore and thirdly, farmers of the country have earned Rs 40600 crore in the last 8 years due to increase in ethanol blending. He complimented the people, farmers and oil companies of the country on this achievement.