‘Environment’ Missing from Budget and Economic Survey

River Ganga at Harsil in the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand

It’s taken the sharp ears and eyes of senior staff at Centre for Science & Environment to notice that the word ‘environment’ was missing from this year’s Economic Survey as well as the 2017 Budget. What does one make of it? Does it mean this government is callous towards the environment or is it that other related words like renewable energy, climate change, sanitation, and cleaning rivers have replaced the mother word?

See CSE’s reaction to the 2017 Budget


“The economic survey and the budget do not reflect the enormity of the ecological dangers like air pollution, dust, water contamination etc. facing India,” one of the senior CSE functionaries said.

However, the central point of the post budget analysis was more about shoddy implementation mechanism than policies. CSE feels that implementation targets should become part of the budget, and that it doesn’t end with just setting targets. And to get to a better implantation regime, India needs better institution capacity building process.

For example, a panelist said, “We don’t know who the poor are even today? No baseline survey has been done yet. Then how can we build a poverty-free panchayat, to begin with?”

A good beginning has been made with geo-tagging for MNEGEGA employment schemes but ground level reportage and analysis are crucial for better and lasting outcomes. “Linking of targeted goods and improving delivery is needed.”

Economic Cost of Pollution

Pollution levels in Indian cities and towns are rising alarmingly. It’s high time India starts talking about the economic cost of pollution and penalizes the polluter.

The panelists pointed out the sorry state of the Clean Ganga project which was launched with fanfare two years ago. The revised estimate this year is lower than what was proposed – this is because they
are not able to spend the allotted money.  “This is a major governance issue,” Sunita Narain, head of
CSE said.

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