- Green found prominence in the Union Budget 2023-24 that finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman presented on January 31, in parliament.
- Green growth was among the seven main priorities that made it to the Budget this year.
- The prime minister’s vision of “LiFE”, or Lifestyle for Environment, will move the country toward an “environmentally conscious lifestyle.
- A Green Credit programme to “encourage behavioural change” will be notified under the Environment (Protection) Act.
Sustainable Ecosystem Development
- Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) – It will be taken up for mangrove plantations along the coastline and on saltpan lands.
- Amrit Dharohar – In the Budget there was an increased focus on promoting conservation values to encourage the optimal use of wetlands.
- PM Program for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM PRANAM) will be launched to incentivise states and union territories to promote alternative fertilisers and balanced use of chemical fertilisers
500 New Waste to Wealth Plants
- 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants under the GOBARdhan (Galvanising Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme to promote a circular economy.
- These 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 the budget, a central excise duty exemption has also been provided to CBG that’s blended with natural gas.
- Import of capital goods and machinery required for the manufacture of lithium-ion cells for batteries used in electric vehicles will be exempted from customs duties.
- Funding has also been initiated for Battery Energy Storage Systems: a capacity of 4,000 MWH will be supported with Viability Gap Funding (VGF).
- The government also aims to promote coastal shipping as the energy-efficient and lower cost mode of transport, both for passengers and freight, through PPP mode and with viability gap funding.
But at the same time
- The budgetary allocation to MoEFCC increased barely 1.6 per cent over the previous Budget.
- The allocation to the flagship National Mission for Green India was reduced by 40 per cent.
- Several crucial programmes such as the Climate Change Action Plan, National Adaptation Fund and the National Mission on Himalayan Studies found no allocation in this year’s budget.
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