Do you know that since 1988, 100 corporations have been responsible for greenhouse gas emissions? In such cases, how can a country like India, which is moving from a mixed economy to a Capitalist economy, find a solution for climate change? This article deals with how our government can finance Green Economy and what we can learn from other countries about the green economy.
WHAT IS A GREEN ECONOMY?
There is no standard definition for the term green economy. The UNEP has defined that a green economy improves human well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. We can take this definition into account as it is a brief and standard one.
IS THE GREEN ECONOMY NEW TO INDIA?
Absolutely No. Gandhi, who is often seen as a spiritual and political leader, has economic ideas similar to contemporary green economic thought. Later, JC Kumarappa, a disciple of Gandhi, had given us solid foundations for Gandhian Economy by applying Gandhian principles in the economic sphere, which is very similar to the concepts of Green Economy. JC Kumarappa also wrote a book named Economy of Permanence which is very important to understand and can be applied to India's Green Economy. He divides the economy into five types,
Parasitic Economy - where the source of benefit is destructed;
Predatory Economy - where the benefit is there without a contribution;
Economy of Enterprise - where benefit and contribution are correlated;
Economy of Gregation - where the benefit is enjoyed by a group, rather than an individual;
Economy of Service - where contributions don't regard any benefit.
JC Kumarappa points out that the Economy of Service is the economy of permanence. The economy of Service is motivated by the good of others. This type of economy also focuses on Truth and Non Violence. So JC Kumarappa had divided the economy into various types based on Gandhian Principles.
Truth and Non Violence are the two life principles that govern all the spheres of the Gandhian Economy. So any scheme or concept which encourages untruth or leads to violence is referred to as Non - Gandhian.
GANDHIAN ECONOMY AND CURRENT INDIA:
According to Gandhi, if the village perishes, India will perish too. Our government should concern more about the village economy. But in the current situation, we have more urban-centric schemes than village-centric schemes. We need more schemes to enhance the village economy further and make villages more self-sustainable. JC Kumarappa was inspired by the Russian Economy (Soviet Union) of his time. He saw that in the Soviet Union, the essential commodities were available at cheap cost, and the luxurious items were sold at a higher price there. India deserves this type of economic practices to reduce economic inequality and poverty.
Let us try to focus on countries following the Green Economy and lessons we can learn from them.
RENEWABLE ENERGY SEEKING CHINA:
China pledged to cut fossil fuel dependence. Though it is quite a difficult task for a country like China, China didn't stop trying. In 2020, it doubled its construction of new wind and solar power plants. India should also focus more on moving towards greener energy. India is also moving towards renewable energy, with schemes like PM KUSUM (Pradhan Manthri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabiyan) and Roof Top Solar Programme. Not only Solar Power, but our country also has schemes including, Waste to Energy Initiative for recovery of energy in the form of biogas and bio CNG. But it would be better if India followed a method of allocating funds to every state for green financing. Rather than depending on Union Government, states can finance their green projects primarily based on Renewable Energy because India has a vital role in fighting against climate change at the global level.
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE FOR GREENER INDIA:
There has been a rising voice for Organic Farming in India recently. Organic Agriculture is a significant field to discuss when it comes to Green Economy because it avoids practices that affect global environmental health. Pollution of underground water with pesticides and fertilizers is the main problem of conventional farming methods. India should consider this a primary issue and start working to provide organic fertilizers, including compost and animal manure. When a majority of the farmers prefer organic fertilizers to chemical ones, the government should also encourage them to create their own organic fertilizers.
Let us consider the case of Bhutan, a small neighboring country for India. Bhutan has banned the sales of pesticides and herbicides. Since Bhutan has rugged mountain terrains, pesticides and herbicides will go down and affect the rest of the biosphere if they are used. This method saved not only the lives of the Bhutanese people but also the whole country's natural resources. India should follow Bhutan and ban the sales of pesticides and herbicides, not quickly but surely.
SUSTAINABLE URBAN PLANNING IN INDIA:
Rapid Urbanization will be a problem always. Urban Planning must consider the ecological consequences of the projects or plans to be implemented. For example, Energy Projects like Nuclear Power Plants and Power Stations shouldn't negatively affect the environment and disturb the surroundings. It is better for a government to undertake big urban projects like power plants, ports, and airports rather than leaving it to the private sector. Why must Urban Planning involve more government initiatives than private investments? Firstly, in the pursuit of profit, there are high chances for conglomerates and private companies to violate environmental rights. Rather than monitoring, the government should take more responsibility and start investing government funds in Urban Infrastructure. It is not needed to avoid private investment altogether. At the same time, depending on those too much or selling public properties to private companies and individuals end at high risk. With the responsibility to fight against climate change and reduce greenhouse gases, it is recommended for the government to invest in urban infrastructure.
FOREST MANAGEMENT IN INDIA:
Though India has taken positive steps to move towards Green Economy, climate change is threatening the livelihoods, ecology, and country in general. Forest Management is the more vital way to address the climate change issue. Forests regulate ecosystems, support livelihoods, protect biodiversity, and act as key players to drive sustainable growth. What can be done? Combatting deforestation is very much crucial for forest management. Restoring Forest Landscapes is also essential. Forest Management will solve the issue of disruption of ecological cycles and processes.
Carbon Tax would be a feasible solution to reduce carbon emission. The government must use the carbon tax collected only for purposes related to Green Economy.
Government can create a committee to check the industries and new projects under Gandhian Scale. The committee can suggest necessary steps to the government with regards to the new projects inspected.
Union Government can allocate funds to State Governments to start new projects for generating renewable energy and providing technical assistance from foreign countries if needed.
Introduction of Ban on Pesticides and Chemical Fertilizers can reduce water pollution due to agricultural activities.
Government can create a Climate Emergency Committee in every state to work with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The committee brings the climate risk factors in Urban Planning and suggests possible solutions to address them.
Government should start reducing the privatization of public sector industries. Such activities will not only affect the environment but also widens the economic gap. Government should invest in Urban Infrastructure more than now. It should never sell these to conglomerates.
Deforestation on a large scale for industrial purposes must be strictly reduced and should have restrictions. Building massive infrastructure by destroying forests and affecting indigenous communities must be severely punished.
Government should try to bring all types of production modes to be based on sustainable development. Creating a special task force will be helpful for this purpose.
Governments can change. But No government must ever change the policy created exclusively for addressing climate emergencies, even for political reasons. India is the land of thinkers like Gandhi & JC Kumarappa and is also naturally diverse. This country can move towards a green economy completely within few years and walk towards sustainable development.