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Budget 2019: To Mitigate Environmental Issues - Govt Should Have Proper Fund Allocation

The upcoming budget is eagerly looked upon by all concerned for the environment. There is huge pressure on the Finance Ministry for the proper allocation of funds.

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Environment has become a key discussion point for governments across the world. India is no exception. Severe water crisis increased pollution levels and global climate change have put a severe toll.
 
It has become critical for our government to focus at stretch in the environmental sector. In his first Mann Ki Baat show after getting re-elected, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed on the conservation of water to meet the water crisis happening nationwide. The government has created Jal Shakti Ministry for faster decision-making on all subjects pertaining to water. 

However, the entire success of the Jal Shakti Ministry depends on the budget allocation. Can Modi government do the same with environment like they did with their famous Swachch Bharat campaign to clean India?

Arun Krishnamurthy, Founder of Environmentalist Foundation of India, states that the government, like Swachch Bharat Campaign, should have a nationwide Jal Bharat Campaign for the water conservation of fresh water bodies: lakes, ponds, etc. Budget should have proper allocation of funds for the Jal Shakti Ministry to undertake that, he added. 

But Jal Shakti Ministry is not the only ministry looking at funds to save the environment.

Government in its interim budget has kept the funds for Project Tiger and Project Elephant same as the last year. Government is focusing more on increasing funding for the statutory bodies and boards under the Ministry. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) gets an increase in allocation from Rs 9 crore last fiscal year to Rs 10 crore, the budget for Animal Welfare Board (AWB) is increased by Rs 2 crore, and National Commission for Green India gets an increase of Rs 30 crore. However, this may not be enough. Krishnamurthy says that there should be proper allocation of funds for wildlife conservation.  

Pollution is one more area that the Finance Minister needs to look at while allocating funds. How does a growing economy continue to grow GDP without choking its citizens requires a lot of deliberations and budget allocation?

The funding for the pollution abatement has been decreased by 50 per cent even though 14 of the 20 polluted cities of the world are in India, as per CSR Journal.
 
 According to a report by the World Health Organization, about 60,987 children under the age of five died in the year 2016 due to exposure to PM2.5.  “It is unfortunate that pollution is still not the primary focus of our policy makers”, says Krishnamurthy. 

Clean energy also needs to get a boost. While India’s solar power capacity is increasing by the day, the investors look forward to better tax structure from the government. Nikunj Ghodawat, Chief Financial Officer at CleanMax Solar, says, India being the third largest renewable industry in the world, it is expected that the government will continue to focus on reducing cost of capital for speedy development of the sector. “In the previous term of NDA government, it was announced the corporate tax rate to be reduced from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, we would like to see this announcement in the budget to get aligned with global tax rates”, says Ghodawat.  

The upcoming budget is eagerly looked upon by all concerned for the environment. There is huge pressure on the Finance Ministry for the proper allocation of funds. With the increasing environment issues, it is hoped that the government will give severe attention to mitigate the same in the upcoming budget.    


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