The state government of Karnataka, in its 2023-24 budget, announced an ambitious plan to establish India’s first-ever Environment Science University in the picturesque town of Shirsi, located in the Uttara Kannada district. This landmark initiative aims to promote research, education, and innovation in the field of environmental science, reflecting the state’s dedication to addressing pressing environmental challenges.
The university, projected to be completed by 2025, will offer comprehensive undergraduate and postgraduate programs in environmental science, providing a platform for students from across the nation to engage in cutting-edge research and learning. The institution is envisioned to become a leading center for environmental studies, attracting scholars, scientists, and students passionate about creating a sustainable future.
With the Karnataka government and private donors collectively funding the project, the estimated cost of Rs. 500 crores underscore the significance of this pioneering university.
Situated amidst the pristine Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its rich biodiversity and water resources that sustain the state of Karnataka, the university’s location in Shirsi serves as a perfect backdrop for environmental research and learning. The institution itself will be designed with environmental consciousness in mind, utilizing solar energy and incorporating a rainwater harvesting system to minimize its ecological footprint.
The university’s curriculum, as stated in a government document, will encompass a wide array of environmental science disciplines, including climate change, pollution control, sustainable development, and more. The emphasis on research will make it a hub for innovation in environmental science, nurturing ideas and solutions that can make a real-world impact.
Key highlights of the Karnataka Budget 2023
Rs. 100 crores for the Eco Budget
The allocation of Rs. 100 crores for the “Eco Budget” in the Karnataka 2023-24 budget is a significant investment in environmental protection. The Eco Budget is a dedicated budget for environmental protection, and it will be used to fund a variety of environmental initiatives, including:
- Afforestation: The government plans to plant 100 million trees under the Eco Budget. This will help to improve the state’s air quality and to reduce its carbon footprint.
- Watershed management: The government plans to construct check dams and water tanks to improve water conservation. This will help to reduce the risk of drought and to improve the water supply for agriculture and drinking water.
- Pollution control: The government plans to improve the sewage treatment plants in the state. This will help to reduce pollution in rivers and lakes.
- Promotion of renewable energy: The government plans to promote the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. This will help to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels.
The Eco Budget is a worthwhile investment for the future of Karnataka. It has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of people and wildlife in the state, and it will help to ensure that Karnataka is a sustainable and prosperous state for generations to come.
Rs. 50 crores for Eco-tourism
The Karnataka government has allocated Rs. 50 crores for the promotion of ecotourism in the state. This will be used to develop eco-tourism circuits, provide financial assistance to eco-tourism businesses, and promote eco-tourism through marketing and advertising.
- The government plans to develop a network of eco-tourism circuits that will showcase the state’s natural beauty and its rich cultural heritage. These circuits will include wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, hill stations, and other natural attractions.
- The government will also provide financial assistance to eco-tourism businesses to help them start and grow their businesses. This assistance will be in the form of grants, loans, and tax breaks.
- The government will also promote eco-tourism through marketing and advertising campaigns. These campaigns will target domestic and international tourists.
- It is estimated to generate $1 billion in revenue by 2025.
- It can attract millions of tourists to the state throughout the year
- It can raise awareness of environmental issues, culture, heritage and state’s natural resources as whole.
It can generate revenue and 100,000 employment opportunities for local communities.