New Delhi: In sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment on climate change, the government on Saturday ramped up budget allocation a whopping sixteen-fold to boost India's mission to climate change and adaption, even as the overall allocation to the environment ministry was trimmed by four percent.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who presented the union budget Saturday, allocated Rs.1,681.60 crore to the ministry for environment, forests, and climate change for 2015-16, which is about four percent lower compared to 2014-15.
Serving to undergird India's strong commitment to adaptation and mitigation measures in the run-up to the crucial climate change conference in Paris later this year, the budget allocated Rs.160.01 crore to India's mission on climate change and adaptation - in sharp contrast to the Rs.10 crore committed last fiscal.
The government's commitment to control pollution finds explicit expression in the union budget with Rs.240.30 crore set aside for the cause, which is 148 percent higher than last year that saw a total allocation of Rs.96.77 crore for the purpose.
Jaitley said Clean Energy cess on coal will be increased by Rs.100 per metric tonne to fund clean environment initiatives.
"In indirect taxes, I propose to increase the Clean Energy cess from Rs.100 to Rs.200 per metric tonne of coal to finance clean environment initiatives," he said while presenting the union budget in the Lok Sabha.
He proposed to levy Swachh Bharat cess at the rate of 2 percent or less "on all or certain services if need arises".
He said the government will launch a scheme for rapid manufacturing and adoption of electric vehicles to tackle pollution. An initial outlay of Rs.75 crore for the scheme for the period 2015-16 has been proposed.
The secretariat-economic services got Rs.58.85 crore - nearly seven crore more than what it got in the previous fiscal - of the total budget allocation for the ministry, while the forestry and wildlife department was granted Rs.362.84 crore, a staggering Rs.35.74 crore less than what it was allocated in the previous financial year.
The total package announced for environmental education, training and extension has however increased by Rs.4.19 crore, which is nearly half the increase allocated in last fiscal year.
The total fund allocation to wildlife preservation is 35 percent lower than last financial year, sitting at Rs.47.68 crore, while the total allocation for environmental protection and monitoring too saw a significant hike of Rs.197.53 crore to the Rs.562.58 crore announced last year.