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Interim Budget 2019

New Delhi: Today, Union Minister Piyush Goyal presented the Interim Budget 2019 in Parliament. WRI India experts weigh in on what it means for the environmental sector, covering issues related to climate change, renewable energy, equitable growth and development, and the private sector.

On building a clean and pollution-free economy

"The budget envisions India as a 10 trillion-dollar economy in 2030, but if we want India to also to be clean and healthy, we need specific policies today that do not lock us into a polluting and high-carbon infrastructure."

- Ulka Kelkar, Director, Climate


On the risk posed by climate change

“The interim budget laid out a ten-dimensional vision of an unpolluted and high-tech India in 2030, but without any consideration of the risks posed by climate change. Climate change could worsen our challenges in food, water, health, coastal and rural livelihoods - all the other dimensions of this vision.”

- Ulka Kelkar, Director, Climate


On people-focused development

“The National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) underlined that cities are for people and not vehicle. Hopefully, the Finance Minister’s remark on ease of living at the 2019 interim budget will translate the NUTP vision into reality.”

- Amit Bhatt, Director, Integrated Transport


On 'clean and green' India

“The 'clean and green' dimension as part of India's Vision 2030 takes the right strategic direction but will be difficult to meet in the face of our current reality. It all depends on how the clean and green dimension co-evolves and co-benefits along with socio-economic value creation over the next 10 years.”

- Samrat Basak, Director, Urban Water Program


On solar energy

“India's solar growth is impressive, but we have installed only a quarter of its 100GW target for 2022. This interim budget has emphasized the role of renewable energy as the future source of power in India. To achieve this, the nation needs to address issues like policy uncertainty in the sector, financing challenges of RE and the poor financial health of Discoms. It would be good if some of these could be covered in the next full budget.”

- Tirthankar Mandal, Manager, Energy Policy


On equitable growth

“In an era where consolidation is the mantra for markets and mega-businesses, India’s interim fiscal budget addresses the root cause – its distributed and marginalized audience. Stepping-up incentives for micro-farmers, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), middle-income tax payers and unorganized workers, this interim budget seems to have set the ball rolling on equitable growth. However, are these measures adequate to push for an ‘inclusive’ economy, given massive inequalities, social and development challenges the country faces today? Only time will tell.”

- Vivek Adhia, Head, Business Engagement


On electric vehicles and renewable energy

“It is heartening that the budget spoke about electric vehicles and renewable energy together -- because the electricity used to charge EVs needs to come from renewables, otherwise, we will only shift pollution from one location to another.”

- Apurba Mitra, Policy Lead, Climate and Energy


On start-ups and private sector

“Encouraging tech entrepreneurship and innovations through various initiatives and platforms like Standup India, Startup India, Digital India, AI, etc, while well-intentioned will need sharper focus and earnest push if they are to bring in private investments into infrastructure and help achieve resource efficiencies in public service delivery. Private sector investments need to be seriously encouraged and scaled up for the government’s vision to be even partially realised.”

- Jaya Dhindaw, Director, Integrated Urban Planning

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