------ Srishti Jayswal
‘Sarva Loka Hitam’
-‘Well-being of all stakeholders'
Stemming from the Vedic philosophy of India, Sustainable Development is the core tenet of any developmental strategy presently.
In concerted efforts of achieving all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, one major target is SDG-13: Climate Action against the issue of Climate Change. According to the United Nations, climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Such shifts can be natural, due to changes in the sun’s activity or large volcanic eruptions. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.
India, being one of the largest economies, does not remain unaffected from the climate crisis. Father of India’s Green Revolution, MS Swaminathan, has rightly pointed out two major challenges before Indian agriculture today: ecological and economical. The conservation of our basic agricultural assets such as land, water, and biodiversity is a major challenge. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Climate change impacts range from affecting agriculture – further endangering food security – to sea level rise and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, deteriorating ocean health, increasing intensity of natural disasters like erratic rain, floods, draughts, species extinction, and the spread of vector-borne diseases.
However, to counter climate change India’s traditional practices for resource development and management and ‘Vocal for Local’ like campaigns have remained utmost efficient, economical and sustainable. These include the underground tanks system placed in Tamil Nadu, Zabo system in Nagaland, the step wells of Gujarat etc. Through this essay we will implore Indian regulations around climate change on fronts such as: social, economic, business, infrastructure etc.
Trailblazing the history of India’s regulation one comes across The Environmental Protection Act of 1986, it is considered to be the most significant legislation. The Act confers power on the Central and State government for the purpose of – First and foremost is protecting and improving the quality of the environment. Secondly, preventing and abating environmental pollution.
Among many debates in the Parliament, environment and climate change also found its stature in the early 1970s, under the leadership of then Prime Minister of India Smt. Indira Gandhi. Under the Forty-Second Amendment Act, 1976, in the provision of DPSP (Directive Principle of State Policy), article 48A made its way in the Constitution of India. It is recorded as, “The State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.”
Going back a bit further, CPCB is a term which is frequently found in newspaper; however, it plays an eminent role. CPCB stands for Central Pollution Control Board of India. It is a statutory body which was established in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and entrusted with powers and function under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981. Air Quality Monitoring (AQM) and Water Quality Monitoring (WQM) are done under its purview in extension to the collection and compilation of technical and statistical data.
Moreover enumeration, data collection, analysis through systemic categorization of species, flora and fauna according to the extent of threats they face has gained much importance with the firm establishment of Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and many more such organizations.
In series of efforts, monumental step was taken by the Government of India in the year 2008 with the launch of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). It was a comprehensive and an umbrella like strategy, to fight climate change, comprising eight national missions such as: National Solar Mission, National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency, National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, National Water Mission, National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-system, National Mission for a Green India, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.
In recent developments, the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi introduced the concept of LiFE- ‘Lifestyle for the Environment at COP 26 in Glasgow in November 2021. This scheme has found much resolute reverberation in the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, 2023. In concurrence, the Union Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy launched Agni Tattva. And even though India does not have an explicit carbon pricing mechanism in place right now, it regulates businesses and industries through implicit price on carbon like Coal Cess, Perform Achieve Trade schemes, Renewable energy certificates etc. Since, India is a developing country, hence, adopting such policy helps in sustainable growth without hindrance to the development of a nation.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “There is sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.”
Indeed transitioning from throwaway culture to a circular economy is imperative as resources are scarce and our desires infinite. As per reports, the average carbon footprint per person in India is 1.8 tonnes per year, as compared to the global average of 4.5 tonnes. This is a testament to the successful Indian regulation system; practices, ethos and developmental strategy. Lastly, with consistent united efforts, changes in daily practices and right scientific advancement in line with Sustainable Development Goals, the threat of Climate Change can be mitigated.
1. CPCB | Central pollution control board. (n.d.). CPCB | Central Pollution Control Board. https://cpcb.nic.in/functions/#:~:text=CPCB%20along%20with%20its%20counte rparts,and%20control%20of%20environmental%20pollution
2. (n.d.). Press Information Bureau. https://static.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/specificdocs/documents/2021/dec/doc20 2112101.pdf
3. United Nations. (n.d.). What is climate change? https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/what-is-climate-change
4. Climate change programme | Department of science & technology. (2023, August 4). Department Of Science & Technology | विज्ञान एिंप्रौद्योविकी विभाि. https://dst.gov.in/climate-change-programme