New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India is focusing on green growth and green jobs and stressed that there is the need to maintain equilibrium with nature.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the inaugural session of two days, the National Conference of States’ Environment Ministers in Ekta Nagar, Gujarat via video conferencing on Friday
Drawing everyone’s attention to the net zero target for the year 2070, the Prime Minister said that the focus of the country is on green growth and green jobs and there is need to maintain equilibrium with nature.
Highlighting the role of the environment ministries of the states in achieving these goals, he urged all environment ministers to promote a circular economy as much as possible in the states.
Modi said it will significantly strengthen the Solid Waste Management campaign and will free us from the clutches of single use plastic.
Giving examples of the International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and LiFE movement, the Prime Minister remarked that India is not just taking huge strides in the field of renewable energy, but also guiding other nations of the world.
“Today’s new India is moving ahead with new thinking, new approach.” The Prime Minister further went on to add that India is a rapidly developing economy, and it is continuously strengthening its ecology as well. “Our forest cover has increased and wetlands are also expanding rapidly”, he added.
The Prime Minister remarked that today the world is joining India because of its track record of fulfilling its commitments.
“Lions, tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinos and leopards have increased in numbers over the years. New excitement has returned from the homecoming of Cheetah in Madhya Pradesh a few days ago”, the Prime Minister added.
Continuing with the role of the environment ministries, the Prime Minister said that this role should not be seen in a restricted manner.
He lamented the fact that for a long time the Environment Ministries got shaped more as a regulator.
However, the Prime Minister said, “I think that the role of the Environment Ministry is more as a promoter of the environment rather than as a regulator.”
He asked the states to own the measures like Vehicle Scrapping policy, and biofuel measures like ethanol blending and strengthen them on the ground. He asked for healthy competition as well as collaboration among the states to promote these measures.
Throwing light on the groundwater issues, the Prime Minister said that the states with abundant water are also facing water shortages nowadays.
The Prime Minister remarked that the challenges and measures like chemical-free natural farming, Amrit Sarovar and water security, are not limited to the individual departments and the environment department will also have to consider these as an equally pressing challenge.
“It is critical to work with a participative and integrated approach by the environment ministries. When the vision of the environment ministries changes, I am sure, nature will also be benefitted.”
Focussing on the alarming rate of forest fires in the western world, the Prime Minister remarked that India’s share in global emissions may be negligible due to wildfire, but we have to stay alert at all times.
The Prime Minister emphasised that the forest fire fighting mechanism in every state should be technology driven and robust. Shri Modi also stressed the training of our forest guards, should be given special emphasis when it comes to forest fire fighting.
“It is a win-win situation for both the economy and ecology”, he said. “It should be our endeavour that by raising the name of the environment unnecessarily, no obstacle should be allowed to be created in the quest of Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business. We have to remember that the faster the environment clearance is available, the faster the development will also take place.”
The Prime Minister emphasised the use of the Parivesh Portal, a single-window mode for all types of clearances related to the environment while stressing its transparency and efficacy in reducing the rush for getting approvals.
“Where environment clearance used to take more than 600 days 8 years ago, it takes 75 days today”, the Prime Minister added.
Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel and Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupendra Yadav were those present on the occasion.
Conference is being convened to create further synergy amongst the Central and State Governments in formulating better policies on issues such as Elimination of Plastic Pollution through a multi-pronged approach, State Action Plans to combat Climate Change with a focus on LiFE effectively- Lifestyle for Environment.
It will also focus on increasing the forest cover with particular emphasis on restoration of degraded land and wildlife conservation.