INDIA, Delhi: Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, and Food & Public Distribution Shri Piyush Goyal today said that India’s per-capita CO2 emission is the lowest amongst big economies, and despite that, in India, we are still doing our part, and our ambitious renewable energy target of 450 Gigawatts by 2030 shows our commitment towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Speaking at the UN Trade Forum 2021, he said that there is no doubt about all of us being very concerned and we will work with renewed thrust in the post-COVID world to achieve our climate goals. He said that Climate justice should be protected & developed countries should reconsider their pattern of consumption & focus on sustainable lifestyles.
The Minister said that India has taken many bold steps on clean energy, energy efficiency, afforestation, and bio-diversity, and that is why India is among the few countries whose NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) are 2-degree-Celsius compatible. “We have also encouraged global initiatives like International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.”
Decoupling trade policy & Green goals
Shri Goyal called for decoupling the Trade policy & our Green goals. He said that trade policy should look for more inclusive growth all over the world. He said that a clean environment & inclusive development which is sustainable is a priority agenda for India. The Minister said that India’s long-standing position has been that measures related to the environment and sustainability should not be linked to trade.
He added that the UN & UNFCC should focus on getting the world together to fulfill their commitments around climate change. Issues relating to climate change need to be discussed under the UNFCCC Framework and the Paris Agreement, and not as part of trade negotiations. Trade Agreements are not the first best option to achieve these goals.
Narrating the steps taken for a cleaner environment, he said that over the last 7 years, we have focused in India on ensuring100% Electricity Connections, 100% Access to Toilets,100% Financial Inclusion & 100% of our Population gets Clean Cooking Gas. He said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi apprised the G7 countries yesterday that by 2030 Indian Railways will run on clean energy & be a ‘net zero’ Railways. He said that India is taking mobility very seriously, and we are working with other countries in developing hydrogen as a means of mobility in the future.
Shri Goyal said that a large investment in healthcare is India’s focus and it is also focusing on renewable energy production & infrastructure. He said India can & will play a very important role in ensuring equitable availability of vaccines & medicines. He said that India is often called the Pharmacy of the World, and we have the capability and the intention to be an important element in this effort to vaccinate the world. “We have the world’s largest free healthcare program, Ayushman Bharat, under which 500 million people in India have access to medical facilities free of charges. We are going to expand it to 100% coverage for every citizen”, he added.
Shri Goyal said that Nature is important for us and protecting nature is our collective responsibility. He however added that we cannot prioritise only the agenda of the developed world but also address the issues that have been long pending such as asymmetries in agricultural subsidies.
Sustainable development goals
Talking about India’s efforts towards sustainable development goals, Shri Goyal said that India has provided free food grain ration to 80 Crore Indians during the COVID pandemic. “Because of the public procurement programs we are able to provide such support to such a large number of people to ensure nobody dies of hunger.”
The Minister emphasised that the options to make available environmentally friendly technology to developing countries at affordable prices should be explored. The Developed Countries should take the lead by ensuring the transfer of affordable green technology to the Developing Countries and also provide the lead market for clean/green products manufactured in the Developing Countries, he added.