Union budget fails to recognise climate change

BENGALURU: The announcement of the Union Budget on February 1 has upset the environmentalists. The reason is not that Bengaluru was not allotted funds for the rejuvenation of lakes or to tackle air pollution, the way Delhi got, but for not having the national policy towards climate change. 

The recent report by Yale and Columbia universities positions India at 177 out of 180 countries in terms of pollution leaving only Bangladesh, Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo at the bottom end. The rankings were influenced by the poor Environmental Health Policy. 

“The centre should not fund specific projects but set up a pattern which can be the creation of certain models. It should adopt a policy which interacts with the issue of climate change,” water expert Mr Kshitij Urs said. 

Explaining further he added that the policy should be to incentivise projects.

“If the green cover goes beyond a certain level in any part of the country, it should be incentivised to increase the green cover. Unfortunately, the central government is sceptical about the climate change as the environmental policies were diluted,” Mr Urs remarked. 

Recently, the central government approved the proposal to fund only 40 electric buses when the proposal from the state government was to allot funds for 150 E-buses. 

Bengaluru struggling with over 69 lakh vehicles have left the government to waver through a lot of policies, adopting clean energy and subsidizing public being major amongst them. 

“Delhi fares very bad in air pollution. It was a right thing but the air pollution in the IT city too is bad and time has come to take action.  Though GAIL has set up the filling stations in the city, CNG buses are nowhere to be seen,” Mr Mahesh Kashyap, a consultant with the Centre for Sustainable Development commented. 

Last year, the central government has diverted 56,700 crore of National Clean Energy and Environment Fund to compensate for the losses made by state revenues loss over the Good and Services Tax (GST). 

Bengaluru has to straddle the line between borewell and Cauvery water to quench thirst which is why the environmentalists believe that sector wise a national policy framework should be made. 

“The government does not feel that environment is a major concern. We have lost on environment index. The industries which pollute should be incentivised. We still use obsolete technology in steel industry which consumes a lot of water,” Mr Urs commented. 

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