Economic Survey 2021-22: Ch. 6 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

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ECONOMIC SURVEY 2021-22: CHAPTER 6

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

 

BIRD'S EYE VIEW

  • India’s overall score on the NITI Aayog SDG India Index & Dashboard 2020- 21 improved to 66 from 60 in 2019-20 and 57 in 2018-19.
  • The number of Front Runners (scoring 65-99) increased to 22 states and UTs in 2020-21 from 10 in 2019-20
  • In 2020, India ranked third globally in increasing its forest area during 2010 to 2020.
  • India’s forest cover has increased by more than three per cent during 2011 to 2021. 
  • In August 2021, the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 was notified which is aimed at phasing-out single-use plastic by 2022.
  • The draft regulation on the Extended Producer Responsibility for plastic packaging has been notified.
  • India had announced its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement in 2015.
  • The need to start the one-word movement ‘LIFE’ which means Lifestyle For Environment urging mindful and deliberate utilization instead of mindless and destructive consumption was underlined.
  • In 2021, India continued exercising significant climate leadership at the international stage under the International Solar Alliance (ISA), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT Group).
  • The chapter also discusses several initiatives taken in the area of sustainable finance by the Ministry of Finance, RBI and SEBI.

INDIA'S PROGRESS ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

  • India’s overall score on the NITI Aayog SDG India Index & Dashboard improved to 66 in 2020-21 from 60 in 2019-20 and 57 in 2018-19.
  • Despite 2020-21 being a pandemic year, India performed well on eight of the 15 SDGs measured by the NITI Aayog SDG India Index.
    • These included –
      • goal 3 (good health and well-being),
      • goal 6 (clean water and sanitation),
      • goal 7 (affordable and clean energy),
      • goal 10 (reduced inequalities),
      • goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities),
      • goal 12 (responsible consumption and production),
      • goal 15 (life on land) and
      • goal 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions)

Performance of States and UTs on the NITI Aayod SDG India Index, 2021

  • The number of Front Runners (scoring 65-99) increased to 22 states and UTs in 2020- 21 from 10 in 2019-20.
  • All remaining states and UTs were Performers (scoring 50-64).
  • All states have improved their overall scores by 1-12 points.
    • Kerala (score of 75) retained its top rank amongst states in 2020-21.
    • Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh ranked second while Goa, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh ranked fourth.
    • Mizoram, Haryana, and Uttarakhand are the top gainers in 2020-21.
    • Chandigarh (score of 79) retained its top rank amongst UTs in 2020-21 while Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Delhi (score of 68) ranked second.
    • Puducherry made the highest gain (nine points) in 2020-21, followed by Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh (seven points each).
  • Within goals, goal 7 has been achieved (score: 100) by 15 states and 5 UTs, goal 6 has been achieved by one state (Goa) and one UT (Lakshadweep), and goal 10 has been achieved by one UT (Chandigarh).
  • In the case of performance of nine coastal states on SDG 14 (life below water) on the NITI Aayog SDG India Index 2020-21, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are Front Runners, followed by six Performers – Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa and West Bengal.
    • Tamil Nadu is an Aspirant and has the lowest score on SDG 14 amongst coastal states.
  • Special attention is being paid to the achievement of SDGs in the North-East region, with a North-Eastern Region (NER) District SDG Index 2021-22 developed by NITI Aayog.
    • There are 64 districts in the Front Runner category and 39 districts in the Performer category.
    • All districts of Sikkim and Tripura fall in the Front Runner category.

STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT

  • LAND FORESTS:
    • Russia, Brazil, Canada, USA and China were the top five largest countries by forest area in 2020, while India was the tenth-largest country by forest area.
    • Forests covered 24 per cent of India’s total geographical area accounting for two per cent of the world’s total forest area in 2020.
    • Of these countries, Brazil (59 per cent), Peru (57 per cent), the Democratic Republic of Congo (56 per cent) and Russia (50 per cent) have half or more of their total geographical area under forests.
    • India ranks third globally in average annual net gain in forest area between 2010 to 2020, adding an average of 2,66,000 ha of additional forest area every year during the period, or adding approximately 0.38 per cent of the 2010 forest area every year between 2010 to 2020.
    • India’s total forest cover saw an increase from 21.05 per cent of the country’s geographical area in 2011 to 21.71 per cent in 2021.
      • This increase in total forest cover is mainly attributed to an increase in very dense forests, which rose by 19.54 per cent between 2011 and 2021.
      • Open forest also improved by 6.71 per cent, while moderately dense forest declined by 4.32 per cent between 2011 and 2021.
    • Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland were the top five states in terms of the highest per cent of forest cover w.r.t. total geographical area of the state in 2021. 
    • Top five states in terms of very dense forest in 2021 are Arunachal, followed by Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
    • In terms of moderately dense forest in 2021, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are at the top, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka.
    • In terms of open forest in 2021, Madhya Pradesh is top, followed by Odisha, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Assam.

PLASTIC WASTE MANAGEMENT AND ELIMINATION OF IDENTIFIED SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

  • In 2018, India announced a phase-out of single-use plastic by 2022.
  • The Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 as amended regulate the import of identified plastic waste into the country by SEZ and EOUs.
  • India piloted a resolution on ''Addressing Single-Use Plastic Product Pollution'' which was adopted by the Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019.
  • Domestic regulatory actions have been taken in 2021:
    • Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 prohibiting identified single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, by 2022.
    • Thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from fifty microns to seventy- five microns with effect from September 30, 2021 and to one hundred and twenty microns with effect from December 31, 2022.
    • Extended Producer Responsibility of the Producer, Importer and Brand Owner (PIBO)
    • Guidelines for Extended Producer Responsibility
    • Draft Regulations on the Extended Producer Responsibility
  • All States/UTs have been requested to constitute a Special Task Force for the elimination of single-use plastics.
    • They have also been requested to develop a comprehensive action plan for the elimination of single-use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • A National Level Taskforce has been constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
    • All States/UTs and concerned central ministries are members of the National Task Force.

WATER

  • Ground Water Resources Assessment of states/UTs is carried out jointly by state groundwater/ nodal departments and Central Ground Water Board at periodic intervals, and the Dynamic Ground Water Resources of India is published by compiling the state/UT wise groundwater resources assessed.
  • It can be seen that over-exploitation of groundwater resources, i.e. extraction exceeding the annually replenishable groundwater recharge is concentrated in the north-west and parts of southern India.
  • RESERVOIR
    • Reservoir live storage is at its peak during monsoon months and lowest in summer months, requiring careful planning and coordination of storage, release and utilization of reservoirs.
  • RIVERS
    • Namami Gange Mission – In 2015, the Cabinet approved the Mission for a period of five years (2015-2020) with a budget outlay of 20,000 crores.
    • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was notified as an authority under Environment Protection Act, which is also the nodal agency responsible for monitoring and implementing it.
    • It rest upon four pillars –
      • Nirmal Ganga (Unpolluted Flow),
      • Aviral Flow (Continuous Flow),
      • Jan Ganga (People-River Connect) and
      • Gyan Ganga (Research and Knowledge Management).
    • As of December 2021, a total of 363 projects worth 30,841.53 crores have been sanctioned under the mission.
    • Clean Ganga Fund was established in 2014 with the objective of contributing to the national effort of improving the cleanliness of river Ganga with the contributions received from the residents of the country, NRIs/ PIO, corporates and organizations.
    • As of 31st December 2021, a total of 561.58 crore has been received under the CGF.
    • Under the Nirmal Ganga component of the mission, 160 sewerage projects have been sanctioned. as of December 31, 2021.
      • Grossly Polluting Industries (GPIs) along River Ganga have been inventoried.
    • To ensure the Aviral Flow of the Ganga, a historical ecological flow notification mandating the minimum flow of river Ganga was released in 2016.
      • Afforestation of 29,000 Ha, integrated management plan for 118 wetlands were also undertaken.
    • Under Jan Ganga, Ganga Quest 2021 and Ganga Utsav 2021 were conducted.
      • The River City Alliance was launched in November 2021, as a platform for river cities in India to ideate, discuss, and exchange information for the sustainable management of urban rivers.
    • Finally, under the Gyan Ganga (Research and Knowledge Management) component, the Ganga Knowledge Centre was set up to create a state-of-the-art centre to support the NMCG and create a comprehensive knowledge base on Ganga.
      • In addition, the Centre for Ganga Management & Study was set up at IIT Kanpur for long term basin studies and technology development.

AIR

  • National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in 2019 –
    • It is implemented in 132 cities, of which 124 cities have been identified based on non-conformity with national ambient air quality standards for five consecutive years.
  • Steps taken to control and minimize air pollution:
    • Vehicular Emission:
      • Shift from BS-IV to BS-VI
      • Metro rail networks for public transport have been enhanced
      • Cleaner/alternate fuels like CNG, LPG and ethanol blending in petrol have been introduced
      • Approved Phase-II of FAME
    • Industrial Emission:
      • Ban on use of imported pet coke
      • Online continuous emission monitoring devices
      • Brick kilns have been shifted to zig-zag technology
    • Air Pollution due to dust and burning of waste:
      • Six waste management rules covering solid waste, plastic waste, e-waste, bio-medical waste, construction and demolition waste and hazardous waste have been notified.
      • Waste processing plants have been set up.
      • Extended producer responsibility for plastic and e-waste management has been introduced.
      • Burning of biomass/garbage has been banned.
    • Monitoring of Ambient Air Quality:
      • Air quality monitoring network of manual as well as continuous monitoring stations
      • Low-cost sensors and satellite-based monitoring.
      • Air Quality Early Warning System, which provides alerts for taking timely actions, is being implemented in Delhi, Kanpur and Lucknow
  • As a result of these initiatives, 96 cities showed a decreasing trend of PM10 concentration in 2020- 21 as compared to 2019-20.
  • Measures taken in Delhi / NCR:
    • Commission on Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas
    • Central Government Scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for in-situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’
    • All diesel vehicles older than 10 years and all petrol vehicles older than 15 years have been banned in Delhi and NCR.
    • Expressways & Highways have been operationalized to divert non-destined traffic away from Delhi.
    • Shifting industries to clean fuel and installation of Online Monitoring of Industrial Emission & Effluent systems in red category industries in Delhi-NCR is in progress.
    • Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) data for Delhi reveals that the annual concentration of PM has decreased gradually since 2016.
      • Delhi achieved approximately 22 per cent reduction in PM2.5 and 27 per cent reduction in PM10 in 2021 as compared to 2016.

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Performance of National Action Plan on Climate Change in 2008 (key achievements under each sub-mission are listed ):
    • National Solar Mission – As of 31st December 2021, solar power capacity of 49.35 GW has been installed
    • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency – In PAT Cycle I, emission reduction of 31 million tonnes of CO2 was achieved. In PAT Cycle II, emission reduction of 66.01 million tonnes of CO2 was achieved.
    • National Mission for a Green India – Afforestation activities were taken up over an area of 1,17,757 ha. Alternative fuel energy devices have been distributed to 33,099 households.
    • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat – Energy Conservation Building Rules 2018 has been made mandatory for commercial buildings having connected load of 100 KW or above, 702 km of the conventional metro is operational, Climate-Smart Cities Assessment Framework 2019, Urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0
    • National Water Mission – State Specific Action Plan (SSAP) for the water sector for 19 selected states, groundwater observation wells
    • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture – National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture, Key targets for FY 2021-2025
    • National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystems – Centre for Glaciology, State climate change
  • Climate Change Action program has been extended up to 2025-26, and consists of eight broad sub-components.
  • The National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change was launched in 2015, and 30 projects with a total allocation of 847.5 crores have been sanctioned from 2015-19.
  • National Hydrogen Mission for generating hydrogen from green energy sources.
  • Brought forward the 20 per cent ethanol blending target from 2030 to 2025.

BENEFITS OF ETHANOL BLENDING

  • Saving USD 4 billion foreign exchange per year in imports 
  • Enhancing energy security
  • Lowering carbon emissions
  • Improving air quality
  • Promoting productive use of damaged food grains and waste o Increasing farmers’ incomes
  • Creating employment and investment opportunities.
  • Indian Railways has set a target of Net Zero Carbon Emission by 2030.
    • Major initiatives undertaken for reduction of carbon emissions:
      • 100 per cent electrification of its network by December 2023
      • Use of three-phase technology for regenerative braking
      • “Head on generation” technology eliminates the need for separate diesel-fuelled power cars
      • Use of renewable energy source (133.26 MW solar and 103 MW wind installed capacity)
      • Provisioning of LED lights at all railway installations o Additional carbon sink by afforestation
  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan
    • As of 31st December 2021 over 77000 stand-alone solar pumps, 25.25 MW capacity solar power plants and over 1026 pumps were solarised under individual pump solarisation variants.
  • Scheme for “Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects” is under implementation with a target capacity of 40 GW capacity by March 2024.
    • So far, 50 solar parks have been sanctioned with a combined capacity of 33.82 GW in 14 states.
  • Roof Top Solar programme Phase-II for accelerated deployment of solar rooftop systems, with a target of 40 GW installed capacity by December 2022, is also under implementation.
  • A scheme for setting up 12 GW Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects by government entities (including Central Public Sector Undertakings) is under implementation.
  • Offshore Wind Energy Policy to harness the potential of offshore wind energy along India’s coastline.
    • As of 31st December 2021, a capacity of around 4.25 GW of the wind-solar hybrid has been awarded, out of which 0.2 GW is already commissioned and an additional capacity of 1.2 GW wind-solar hybrid projects are at various stages of bidding.
  • MAJOR DECISIONS AT THE COP26 CLIMATE SUMMIT, GLASGOW:
    • COP26 adopted outcomes on all pending issues of the “Paris Rule Book”, which is the procedures for implementation of the Paris Agreement, including market mechanisms, transparency, and common timeframes for NDCs.
    • It urged the developed country Parties to fully deliver on the USD 100 billion mobilization goal urgently and through till 2025.
    • It welcomed the launch of a comprehensive two-year Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation.
    • The Glasgow Dialogue between Parties, relevant organisations and stakeholders on loss and damage was established to explore the ways to fund loss and damage due to climate change.
    • It also decided to convene an annual high-level ministerial round table on pre-2030 ambition, beginning at the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties.
  • INDIA'S NDC AND ITS VOLUNTARY COMMITMENT ON ENHANCED CLIMATE ACTION
    • India committed to:
      • reduce the emission intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 as compared to 2005 level
      • create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030
      • achieve about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel energy resources by 2030
    • Against these targets, India’s third Biennial Update Reports (BUR) submitted to the UNFCCC in 2021 reports that during 2005-2016, the country had reduced emission intensity of its GDP by 24 per cent.
    • According to the India State of Forest Report 2021, the total carbon stock in the country’s forests is estimated to be 7,204 million tonnes, and the carbon stock in forest has increased by 79.4 million tonnes as compared to the last assessment of 2019.
    • According to the Central Electricity Authority, as on 31st December 2021, the share of non-fossil sources in the installed capacity of electricity generation was 40.20 per cent.
    • In order to coordinate India’s response to climate change, an institutional framework of a high-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for the Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA) has been created.

FINANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

  • RBI set up a new unit– ‘Sustainable Finance Group’
  • Task Force on Sustainable Finance has been set up by the Department of Economic Affairs
  • RBI joined the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System
  • RBI published a ‘Statement of Commitment to Support Greening India’s Financial System – NGFS’
  • Liberalised External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) norms of RBI
  • RBI is a member of a Task Force on Climate-related Financial Risks set up by the Basel
  • Committee on Banking Supervision, and the International Platform on Sustainable Finance.
  • Investing in Resilience for sustainable development
    • SEBI has been one of the early adopters of sustainability reporting for listed entities and requires mandatory ESG related disclosures as part of the Business Responsibility Report (BRR), for the top 100 listed entities (by market capitalisation) since 2012.
  • INDIA'S INITIATIVES AT THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE:
    • Lifestyle for Environment (LIFE) – proposed a One-Word Movement in the context of climate
    • International Solar Alliance (ISA)
      • Launched Green Grids Initiative One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) at the World Leaders’ Summit in Glasgow
      • ISA is mandated to facilitate mobilization of USD 1 trillion in solar investments by 2030 for massive scale-up of solar energy deployment.
      • The Strategic Plan of the ISA for 2021-2026 identifies three key global issues – Energy Access, Energy Security, and Energy Transition.
    • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure
      • Its membership has expanded to 28 countries and seven multilateral organizations
      • Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) – launched by India, UK, Australia, Fiji, Jamaica and Mauritius. India has pledged USD 10 million, while Australia and the UK have pledged AUD 10 million GBP 7.3 million respectively for the IRIS initiative.
      • CDRI’s Global Flagship Report on Disaster and Climate Resilient Infrastructure
      • DRI Connect
    • Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT Group) launched by India and Sweden, with the support of the World Economic Forum at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York in September 2019, as one of the nine action tracks identified by the UN Secretary-General to boost climate ambitions and actions to implement the Paris Agreement.

GLOSSARY

  • Forest Area:
    • Area recorded as forest in government records and is also called “recorded forest area. 
  • Forest cover:
    • It comprises all lands, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10 per cent, irrespective of ownership and legal status.
    • Such lands may not necessarily be a recorded forest area, and also include orchards, bamboo and palm plantations.
  • Very Dense Forest:
    • all lands with tree canopy density of 70 per cent and above.
  • Open Forest: all lands with tree canopy density between 10-40 per cent.
  • Moderately Dense Forest: all lands with tree canopy density between 40-70 per cent.
  • Stage of Extraction (SoE):
    • Ratio of annual groundwater extraction and annual extractable resources i.e. utilization vs availability expressed in per cent.
  • Over-exploitation of groundwater resources:
    • Extraction of groundwater resources exceeding the annually replenishable groundwater recharge.



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