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Home Editorial Environment Few steps towards cleaner and greener India.

Few steps towards cleaner and greener India.

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India the country of natural beauty has too faced Green issues. Green issues appear to be gaining traction in economic policy right now in India. Here is a article regarding few steps towards cleaner and greener India.

Green issues appear to be gaining traction in economic policy right now in India. Consider the following two recent events. First, the 14th Finance Commission has given forest cover a 7.5 percent weighting in the methodology used to decide how much tax devolution will benefit different states. Second, the most recent Economic Survey included a lengthy discussion of how rising fuel usage charges should be viewed as a carbon price.

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The first step is to provide states with large green forests a fair deal. These countries serve as national carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide and assisting India in meeting its international climate change commitments thus resulting in more green. It is only fair that the more industrialised states essentially pay for this.

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The second step is to consider intergenerational equity. In environmental economics, there is a fierce dispute regarding how far current generations should pass on pollution costs to future generations. This is a particularly difficult question in the case of a country with widespread poverty, such as India: should it prioritise economic growth and pass the cost of environmental cleanup to future generations with higher incomes? Should the costs be paid immediately? Also, despite the fact that both have the same impact of changing relative prices, this publication has previously argued that carbon taxes are a stronger policy tool than subsidies to specific renewable energy technology.

A two-pronged approach is required in the fight for a cleaner environment. One is concerned with the management of India’s forest resources. The other is about controlling fossil fuel use demand. Indian strategy has always proven unproductive on both fronts.India has been supporting the very fuels that aggravate emissions for a long time. However, the present government has managed to defy the populist trend.It has taken advantage of the dramatic drop in global oil prices to de-regulate domestic market prices and impose higher excise duties.This has the effect of a carbon price.With the increase in the coal cess from 100 to 200 per metric tonne in this budget, it appears that India finally has an appropriate level of carbon price.

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This isn’t the case, though. According to the most recent Economic Survey, much more has to be done before taxation has a credible impact on consumer behaviour and, as a result, emissions reduction. “…there is still a long way to go, with potential big advantages still to be enjoyed from coal pricing reform and further reform of petroleum pricing policy,” according to the survey.

It’s also evident that any tax hikes will be politically more expensive should oil prices return to their historic highs. In that regard, the administration would be wise to fully use the opportunity.

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On the issue of improving forest cover per se, the irony about forests in India is that they are rarely thought of as assets in themselves. Much of the debate is around either the valuable land on which they stand or the rights and rehabilitation of the poor that depend on them. Traditional attempts at improving forest cover, mainly through government departments, do not inspire confidence either.

For example, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India found major irregularities in the way funds from the Compensatory Afforestation and Fund Management and Planning Authority were spent, with crores being spent on unauthorised activities such as building renovations, vehicle purchases, cell phone charges, and honoraria. The guilty states, including Arunachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, are now expected to gain from more funding devolution. Clearly, simply providing additional funds will not fix the situation. The National Action Plan on Climate Change’s Mission for Green India intends to improve the quality and quantity of forest cover, however it is still in its early stages.

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Before spending money, state governments should look at some worldwide success stories in forest management, such as Mexico. The emphasis on community ownership of forests, as well as the government’s efforts to link forests to markets for eco-tourism, protection of river streams, seeds, and other biodiversity, are two key lessons from Mexico’s turnaround, which went from rampant deforestation to a country with 33 percent forest cover.

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