Both the economy and the ecology benefit from development projects if completed on time: PM
New Delhi, 23 September (H.S.). Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that timely completion of development projects benefits both the economy and the ecology. Raising awareness about Urban Naxalism and global institutions hindering development, the Prime Minister said that development projects should be given permission at the earliest by bringing about a change in the methodology.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the National Conference of Environment Ministers at Ekta Nagar, Gujarat through video conferencing.
Giving some examples of environmental benefits from development projects, the Prime Minister mentioned how they have reduced carbon emissions. He said that the tunnel built in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan will reduce the carbon emissions by 13,000 tonnes annually.
The Prime Minister said that without modern infrastructural facilities, the development of the country and efforts to improve the standard of living of the countrymen cannot be successful. For years, the construction of modern infrastructure facilities in the country was stopped in the name of environmental clearance. Urban Naxals and global institutions obstructing development had a big hand in this. The Prime Minister gave the example of Sardar Sarovar Dam and said that this project was started during Nehru’s time but due to this vicious cycle it was completed only during his tenure.
The Prime Minister urged the states to speed up the granting of environmental and forest clearances. He said that six thousand development projects in the states are pending for environment and six and a half thousand projects are waiting for the permission of the forest department.
In this regard, he informed about the benefits being received from the Centre’s initiative, the Environment Portal. He said that this portal has become a single window medium for all permissions related to the environment. It is transparent and reduces the rush to get permission. In the last 8 years, the time taken for environmental clearance has now come down from 600 days to 75 days.
In his address, the Prime Minister mentioned the successful efforts made from the environmental point of view. He said that the country today is moving towards a developed economy and at the same time strengthening its ecology. The forest cover of the country has increased and the area of water bodies has also increased. He said that biodiversity is increasing. Gir lions, tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinos and leopards have increased in numbers over the years. A few days ago, the cheetah has returned to Madhya Pradesh, which has returned a new enthusiasm.
The Prime Minister said that in 2017, India has set a target to eliminate net zero or carbon emissions completely. The focus of the country is now on green growth and green jobs. The environment ministry of each state has a huge role to play in achieving these goals. He urged the ministers to encourage more circular economy in the states. This will give strength to the campaign of solid waste management and freedom from single use plastic.
Taking forward the spirit of cooperative federalism, a National Conference on Environment is being organized in Gujarat. Its purpose is to create more coordination between the central and state governments in making better policies. The themes related to these policies are- eliminating plastic pollution through a multi-pronged approach, state action plans to effectively tackle climate change with a focus on ‘Life-Lifestyle for Environment’, etc. It will also focus on restoration of degraded land and increasing the forest cover with special emphasis on wildlife conservation.
The two-day conference, to be held on the next two days on 23 and 24 September, will have six thematic sessions. These include ‘LIFE’, tackling climate change (updating state action plans on climate change for emissions mitigation and adaptation to climate impacts); Ambience (Single Window System for Integrated Green Clearance); forestry management; pollution prevention and control; wildlife management; The focus will be on topics like plastic and waste management.