Economic Survey 2021 Sustainability, SDG & Climate Change
Economic Survey 2021 Sustainability | The 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encompasses a comprehensive developmental agenda for India by integrating the social, economic and environmental dimensions.
The Economic Survey for FY 2020-21, presented in Parliament today by Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, lays emphasis on this approach.
The Survey asks for achieving equity not just across nations and within the nations but also across and within the generations, thereby countering the iniquitous impact of COVID-19 pandemic too.
India and the SDGs
Indian Government has taken several initiatives both at the national and the sub national level to mainstream the SDGs into the policies, schemes and programmes.
- In 2020, the highlight of India’s SDG initiatives has been the Voluntary National Review (VNR) presented to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development.
- Localisation of SDGs: States and UTs have created discrete institutional structures for implementation of SDGs in their own specific contexts. Few states have also created nodal mechanisms within every department and at the district levels to make coordination, convergence and data management more precise and predictable.
The Survey recognizes that Sustainable development will remain core to the India’s development strategy.
The Economic Survey 2021 says that India has been taking several proactive climate actions to fulfill its obligations as per the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and equity.
The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted by India has been formulated keeping in mind the developmental imperatives of the country and is on a “best effort basis”.
- In its NDC, India has sought to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030;
- Achieve 40 per cent of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030;
- Enhance forest and tree cover to create additional carbon sink equivalent to 2.5 to 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2030.
The other goals pertain to adoption of sustainable lifestyles based on traditional values of conservation and moderation, adaptation to climate change, clean economic development and environment friendly technology, etc.
India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was launched in 2008. It has through 8 National Missions focussed on advancing the country’s climate change related objectives of adaptation, mitigation and preparedness on climate risks.
The Government has decided to revise the NAPCC in line with the NDC submitted by India under the Paris Agreement to make it more comprehensive in terms of the priority areas.
The implementation of NDC has started from 1st January 2021. There is a huge gap between resource availability and the requirements, implementation of wide-ranging NDC goals presents a major challenge
The Economic Survey 2021 also mentions some of the prominent government initiatives on mitigation and adaptation actions such as India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change and implementation of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &)Electric Vehicle in India (FAME India) scheme.
Sustainable Climate Finance
The Economic Survey highlights the importance of sustainable financing to meet the government’s development priorities and mentions few steps undertaken in this regard:
- National Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Financing, finalized in 2015, are financial sector-specific guidelines that combine and adapt international and national best practices.
- RBI included lending to social infrastructure and small renewable energy projects within the priority sector targets.
- ‘Voluntary Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility’ were issued in 2009 to mainstream the concept of business responsibility.
- Committee was constituted to review and update the Business Responsibility Reporting (BRR)formats for listed as well as unlisted companies
India is moving in the direction of creating a Social Stock Exchange (SSE), under the regulatory ambit of SEBI for raising capital by Social Enterprises working for the realization of a social welfare objective.
The Survey mentions India being the second largest green bond market among the emerging markets after China. In 2017, to give push to Green Bonds issuances in India, SEBI issued guidelines on green bonds including listing of green bonds on the Indian stock exchanges. As of 24th December, 2020, eight ESG mutual funds have been launched in India.
India’s initiatives at the International Stage
The Survey mentions the initiatives taken by India at the global stage to foster the sustainable model of development and have disaster resilient infrastructure at the disposal of citizens:
- International Solar Alliance (ISA) has recently launched two new initiatives – a ‘World Solar Bank’ and ‘One Sun One World One Grid Initiative’ – of global import to bring about solar energy revolution globally. The ISA Secretariat has recently launched a ‘Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action’ comprising of global public and private corporates. It has also organized First World Solar Technology Summit (WSTS) in September 2020 with an objective of showcasing to Member Countries the state of the art and next-generation solar technologies.
- Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure: The Coalition functions as an inclusive multi-stakeholder platform led and managed by national governments, where knowledge is generated and exchanged on different aspects of disaster resilience of infrastructure. CDRI is working on enhancing the resilience of power and transport sector and also plans on expanding its membership to include countries from all the continents and at varied level of development and risk.