“We are going to be the most affected by this problem”
The Centre has made a provision of Rs. 25,000 crore to mitigate the effects of climate change, a serious problem that India will face in the coming decades, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh told the Rajya Sabha on Saturday.
“We are going to be the most affected by climate change … the government has made a provision for Rs. 25,000 crore to mitigate its impact. Besides, the Finance Ministry has also sanctioned Rs. 5,000 crore as recommended by the 13th Finance Commission to tackle this serious problem,” Mr. Ramesh said replying to a debate on a private member's resolution for setting up a fund for dealing with climate change.
“We have a National Action Plan on Climate Change. We are a responsible and serious participant in international negotiations without giving up our basic principles. We have demonstrated flexibility and we should continue to demonstrate flexibility in this area because we are a country that is going to be affected the most by climate change. We have already taken steps to invest in and to create new financial instruments to deal with adaptation and mitigation,” he said.
Clean Energy Fund
Referring to the Clean Energy Fund, Mr. Ramesh said there would be a cess of Rs. 50 per tonne on both domestically produced and imported coal. “This year, roughly Rs. 3,000 crore will accrue to the corpus of this fund. There are projections that by the year 2015, India would produce almost two to three times the amount of coal that she is producing now. So, it is possible that in the year 2015, Rs. 10,000 crore would accrue to the corpus of this fund. In the next couple of months, projects under this fund will also start getting funded, both in the field of clean energy, that is, renewable energy, and also in the field of environmental management, pollution control and remediation,” he said.
About 220 scientists from 120 research institutions were working on assessing the impact of climate change on agriculture, water, health and forests. The research covered the impact on the Himalayan glaciers, the northeast, the Western Ghats and coastal areas. Their report would be available in two months, Mr. Ramesh said.