Budget 2020: ₹4,400 crore for clean air, ₹11,500 crore for clean water - and warnings to polluters

Budget 2020: ₹4,400 crore for clean air, ₹11,500 crore for clean water  - and warnings to polluters
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, flanked by her deputy Anurag Thakur (to her right) and a team of officials, shows a folder containing the Union Budget documents as she poses for lensmen on her arrival at Parliament in New Delhi.Photo/Manvender Vashist) (

  • To crack down on the rising pollution levels in larger cities — having a population of over a million — Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated ₹4,400 crore to clean air.
  • Sitharaman also said that the thermal power plants that still use coal with emissions above prescribed limits shall be shut down.
  • The budget also proposed ‘transparent price’ discovery for natural gas. It said that the gas pipeline grid will be expanded from 16,000 km to 27,000 km.
Indians who were choking under a thick blanket of smog and purchasing water after cities ran out of it - received some relief from Nirmala Sitharman. The government also allocated a total of ₹11,500 crore to wellness and water sanitation -- including a massive ₹3.6 lakh crore to the Jal Jeevan Mission that aims to give tap aims to all households in India by 2024.

Within this, the government will identify 100 “water distressed” districts and provide them with a comprehensive plan to face the crisis.

The Finance Minister allocated ₹4,400 crore to clean air in cities with a population of over a million. She also promised to incentivise state governments that are taking initiatives to ensure good air quality. “Parameters for the incentives would be notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change,” she said.

Coal-based power plants get a warning

She also cracked down on large polluters, especially thermal power plants. She warned that coal-fired power plants whose emissions are above prescribed limits shall be shut down. And the seized land will be used for alternative purposes.

She also allocated ₹22,000 crore to the power sector, some of which will also flow to the renewable energy sector.

As the number of disasters across the country in the forms of storms and cyclones are on the rise, the government is also building more infrastructure to tackle it. In September 2019, the prime minister launched the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

“This will help in addressing sustainable development goals and enhance climate change adaptations with a focus on disasters resilient infrastructure," Sitharaman said.

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