By Anup Garg, Founder, and Director, World of Circular Economy (WOCE), a Delhi-based climate solutions start-up
In the last two years, we saw the dark shadow of covid in the union budgets and thus, implications on the overall economy. It was wise to focus on consolidation and capacity utilization, which happened in the last two years. Now investors are confident of putting in funds and with the comprehensive budget for 2023-2024, the nation’s economy is going to gain momentum. We couldn’t have asked for more from this budget as it seems to be taking care of everything, viz, inclusive growth, infrastructure, start-ups, entrepreneurship, ease of business, etc. Besides, all taxpayers will be paying lesser taxes now.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that ‘green growth’ would be one of the priorities of the budget, which our industry was looking forward to hearing. Now, the hope is to see a careful implementation of programmes for green growth across different sectors towards reducing carbon footprint and creating green infrastructure and jobs.
Amongst various factors, India’s rising global profile is because of accomplishments in frontier areas such as achieving climate-related goals, the mission Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE), and National Hydrogen Mission.
The main challenge is to adopt a healthy and green lifestyle toward Net Zero. We need awareness programmes and stringent regulations and mandates from the government on penalising individuals and corporates breaking laws. Looking forward, it is important to put a cap per household/ business and levy fines on crossing the threshold limits of carbon emissions.
If the government provides tax breaks to individuals/businesses and an option to file carbon footprint along with the IT return and claim a tax rebate, this can drive the mass movement for GHG emission reduction.
It was heartening to hear that for encouraging behavioural change, a Green Credit Programme will be notified under the Environment (Protection) Act. This will incentivise environmentally sustainable and responsive actions by companies, individuals, and local bodies, and help mobilise additional resources for such activities.
Besides, for Energy Transition, this Budget provides INR 35,000 crores for priority capital investments towards energy transition and net zero objectives and energy security by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.