Protecting the Environment
India updates its NDC according to which target to reduce emissions intensity of its GDP has been enhanced to 45 percent by 2030 from 2005 level and target on cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources has been enhanced to 50% by 2030
In its report card for the year 2023, the Union Ministry Environment, Forest and Climate Change has highlighted the following :
Green Credit Programme (GCP)
Green Credit Initiative was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on the side-lines of COP 28. It is an initiative within the governments Lifestyle for Environment or LIFE movement. The Green Credit Rules, 2023, has been notified on 12th October 2023 under the Environment Protection Act 1986. These rules put in place a mechanism to encourage voluntary environmental positive actions resulting in issuance of green credits. In its initial phase, voluntary tree plantation is envisaged on degraded land, waste land, watershed area etc. under the control and management of Forest departments.
The generation of Green Credit under Green Credit Rules, 2023 is independent of the carbon credit under Carbon Credit Trading Scheme 2023.
Governance structure of GCP includes the steering committee members from concerned ministries / departments, experts and institutions. Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) is designated as GCP administrator and is responsible for implementation and management of GCP. Digital process of GCP includes dedicated web platform and GC registry for streamlining the operations. In addition to these methodologies and guidelines, including registration, accounting and GC issuance monitoring ensures the transparency and accountability of GCP.
India’s achievements against the NDC targets-
As per India’s first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted in the year 2015, India had the target of:
(i) Reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level; and
(ii) Achieving about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
These two targets have been achieved well ahead of the time. As on 31st October, 2023; the cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources is 186.46 MW, which is the 43.81% of the total cumulative electric power installed capacity. The emission intensity of its GDP has been reduced by 33 percent between 2005 and 2019.
In August 2022, India updated its NDC according to which target to reduce emissions intensity of its GDP has been enhanced to 45 percent by 2030 from 2005 level, and the target on cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources has been enhanced to 50% by 2030.
28th Session of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28)
An inter-ministerial delegation from India attended the 28th Session of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 30th November’2023 to 13th December’2023. The major outcome from COP 28 included the decision on Outcome of the First Global Stocktake, ratcheting up global climate ambition before the end of the decade and agreement on the operationalization of loss and damage fund. These global efforts will be taken up by the countries in a nationally determined manner taking into account the Paris Agreement and their different national circumstances.
India’s Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was submitted on December 9, 2023. The report contains information on India’s greenhouse gas emissions, its vulnerability to climate change, and the measures it is taking to mitigate emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Energy sector contributed the most to the overall anthropogenic emissions with 75.81 percent, followed by agriculture sector with 13.44 percent, Industrial Process and Product Use (IPPU) with 8.41 percent and Waste with 2.34 percent.
India also submitted the Initial Adaptation Communication to UNFCCC. India has been diligently working towards adaptation in mission mode. Several policies and measures have been put in place across key economic sectors, keeping in mind the wide scope of adaptation activities. India has been spending significant amount of resources on adaptation relevant actions, despite the competing demands for limited resources in a developing economy.
Mission LiFE, was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 20th October 2022. At the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP26), Hon’ble PM had announced Mission LiFE, to bring individual behaviours at the forefront of the global climate action narrative. LiFE has been acknowledged by various international foras, including IPCC Climate Change 2022, Mitigation of Climate Change Working Group III Report, 2022, Cover decision of Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, 2022, G7 Communique adopted in Sapporo, Japan, 2023, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Communique, 2023., G20 Leaders’ Declaration, 2023 and 9th G20 Parliamentary Speakers Summit (P20) and Parliamentary Forum, 2023.
India Cooling Action Plan: India is the first country in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action Plan, which seeks to provide an integrated vision towards cooling across sectors encompassing inter alia reducing cooling demand, refrigerant transition, enhancing energy efficiency and better technology options with a 20-year time horizon. During Hydro Chlorofluorocarbons Phase Out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage-II implementation, India completely phased out the use of Hydro chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) – 141b in manufacturing of rigid foam, the first among the developing countries to achieve the milestone. As against target of 35% reduction from the baseline as on 1.1.2020, India achieved a reduction of 44%, highlighting India’s efforts in protection of the stratospheric ozone layer.
G20 Initiatives under India’s Presidency – Environment and Climate Sustainability Work Group (ECSWG) 2
• Inception of a Global Alliance on land restoration of forest fire and mining affected areas under the Gandhinagar Implementation Roadmap and the Gandhinagar Information Platform (GIR-GIP).
• Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition RECEIC was launched under India’s Presidency with 40 founding members from private sector across the globe.
• High-Level Principles for a Sustainable and Resilient Blue/ Ocean-based Economy (HLPSRBE) was launched. G20 countries formally adopted the 9 comprehensive high-level principles. It includes the baseline studies for preparation of Marine Spatial Planning for promotion of Blue economy as per HLPSBE.
• A mega beach cleaning International Event was organised on 21st May, 2023, wherein total 18 countries participated. A total of 3300 volunteers participated on 20 international beach and 3593 Kg of trash was collected for all the beaches.
• Remarkable Increase in the Number of Ramsar Sites of the Country: Since 2014, 49 new wetlands across the country have been designated as Ramsar (Wetlands of International Importance) sites taking the total number to 75. Currently, India has the second largest network of Ramsar Sites in Asia. Amrit Dharohar Yojana has been launched for conservation of Ramsar sites through community participation on the environment day 2023. Faunal inventory of all the 75 Ramsar Sites has been published by ZSI on 1st September 2023 and Floral inventory for 75 Ramsar Sites is under preparation.
• Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023: To achieve the country’s national as well as international commitments of NDCs, carbon neutrality, eliminate the ambiguities and bring clarity about the applicability of the Act in various lands, promoting the plantation in non-forest land, enhancing the productivity of the forests, amendment in the existing Act has been made by promulgating the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023. During last two years, the Forest Conservation Division has issued approximately 60 guidelines or clarifications to further streamline the process of approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
• Increase in the number of Protected Areas: The number of Protected Areas in the country, which stood at 745 in the year 2014 have risen to 998. This accounts for 5.28% of the country’s total geographic area. The numbers of Community Reserves in the country have increased from 43 in the year 2014 to 220 presently.
• Increase in forest and tree cover: As per India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021, the total forest and tree cover in India is 80.9 million hectares, which is 24.62% of the geographical area of the country. Out of this, the increase in the forest cover has been observed as 1,540 sq km and that in tree cover is 721 sq km as compared to 2019. 589.70 Cr seedlings were planted and a total of 8.77 million Hectares of area was covered under tree plantation till October 2023. as compared to 2020.
• Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) was launched on the World Environment Day (5th June 2023) by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The aim of the MISHTI is to “Restoration of mangrove forests” by undertaking mangrove reforestation/ afforestation measures along the coast of India by adopting existing best practices in India and globally. Ministry has prepared a proposal and same has been submitted to National CAMPA authority for allocation of funds under MISHTI for FY 2023-24. Rs.100 Crores have been allocated as Project outlay for the FY 2023-24.
• Blue Flag Beaches: There were no blue flag certified beaches in India in 2014. Government of India initiated the beach development work and 08 beaches conferred blue flag certification in 2020. In 2022, total 12 beaches had blue flag certification.
PARIVESH is a web based, role based workflow application which has been developed for online submission and monitoring of the proposals submitted by the proponents for seeking Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ Clearances from Central, State and district level authorities. It automates the entire tracking of proposals which includes online submission of a new proposal, editing/updating the details of proposals and displays status of the proposals at each stage of the workflow.
To enhance users experience on PARIVESH with modern day web application, Ministry has expanded the scope of existing PARIVESH (2.0) leveraging on emerging technology such as GIS, Advance Data Analytics, etc. for providing faster decisions on Green Clearances and robust compliance monitoring by end-to-end online appraisal and grant of clearances. An upgraded version of existing PARIVESH is supplemented with unique modules (Know Your Approval, Know Your Customer, Decision Support System etc).
Major modules in PARIVESH 2.0 viz: end to end online processing of Category A and B environmental clearance proposals was developed and rolled out at Central and SEIAA level, respectively. In addition, all major functionalities of other major clearances (FC/WL&CRZ) have been developed and rolled out. In CRZ clearance, all nine State Coastal Zonal Management Authority were onboarded, for the first time, on PARIVESH 2.0 for online submission and processing of applications. Furthermore, PARIVESH 2.0 is also integrated with Gatishakti and National Single window portal.
Integration of NSWS with PARIVESH 2.0 in Option 3 plus: Integration of NSWS portal with PARIVESH 2.0 under option 3 plus has been completed in October 2023.Under option 3 plus, user now can also register on NSWS and onboard on PARIVESH through NSWS portal. Registration details on NSWS will be pushed to PARIVESH through API based services.
Integration of Gatishakti Portal with PARIVESH 2.0: The PARIVESH Portal and Gati Shakti Portal are seamlessly integrated through Map service. Forest cadastral map for 5 states [Jharkhand, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, & one district of Tripura] and Projects planned on Gati Shakti are successfully integrated on PARIVESH. Similarly, data in the form of layers (EC/FC/WL/CRZ approved, Protected Area Boundary, Eco Sensitive Zone) available are successfully pushed to Gati Shakti portal.
Air Quality / Pollution
Improvement in Air quality: Under NCAP (National Clean Air Programme) and XV FC grants, 131 non-attainment cities are being monitored for the air quality. They have shown a positive impact as there is progressive reduction observed in the annual average concentration of PM 10 in these 131 cities which has ultimately resulted in the improved air quality. Under Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan more than 100 cities are monitored for air quality with an intent and plan to improve the air quality through holistic approach.
Mission Circular Economy: 11 Committees constituted for development of Circular Economy (CE) and Action Plans for 10 waste categories (Li-ion batteries; E-waste; Toxic and hazardous industrial waste; Scrap metal (ferrous and nonferrous); Tyre and Rubber; End of Life Vehicles; Gypsum, Used Oil, Municipal solid waste and Solar Panels). Accordingly, the following amendments were made to Promote mission of circular economy to move fast towards achieving climate goals.
(a) Plastic Waste Management Rule was amended on 27.04.2023.
(b) Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Used Oil” was amended on 18.09.2023.
(c) E-Waste (Management) Rules, was amended on 30.01.2023.
(d) Battery Waste Management Rules, was amended on 25.10.2023.
(e) Waste Tyre, 2022” on 21.07.2022.
Total plastic packaging of around 3.07 million tonnes been covered under EPR for the year 2022-23. Registered PIBOs: 31099 Registered Plastic Waste Processors: 2289, till October 2023.
Transcontinental relocation of Cheetah: 8 cheetahs from Namibia and 12 cheetahs from South Africa have been translocated to Kuno National Park in Sept’22 and Feb, 2023 respectively. Cheetah had become extinct in the country in the late 1940/early 1950s.
50 years of project tiger: As per the latest Tiger Census report released in August 2023 India is home to more than 75% tiger population of the world. Tiger Estimation (2022) shows an increase from 2226 in 2014 to 3,682 in 2023 with 12 tiger reserves with Outstanding category. International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) has been launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 9th April 2023 for conserving global big cats including tiger.
Digitization of Flora, Fauna and herbarium records: The BSI and ZSI has carried out the digitization of 16500 specimens with 45000 images of the Type and Non-Type of Indian Faunal specimens. ZSI has completed faunal documentation from 27 States and Union Territories as well as all of the 10 Biogeographic Zones across the country. Data of 6124 springs in 11 IHR States and 1 UT (J&K) has been geo-tagged spatially online on the HIMAL Geo portal.