IMPRI Center for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (CECCSD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi hosted an interactive panel discussion on the topic “The Environment and Union Budget 2023-24” on 4 February 2023 under the IMPRI 3rd Annual Series of Thematic Deliberations and Analysis of Union Budget 2023-24, as part of IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk. The discussion was chaired by Mr Ashish Kothari, who is a Founder-Member at Kalpavriksh, Pune. The discussion was moderated by Dr Simi Mehta, PhD, who is the CEO & Editorial Director of IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute.
The eminent panellists included Mr Soumya Dutta, who is the Co-convener of South Asian People’s Action on Climate Crisis (SAPACC); Dr Madhu Verma who is currently serving as the Chief Economist at World Resources Institute (WRI), New Delhi; Mr Debadityo Sinha who is the Lead of Climate and Ecosystems at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, New Delhi; Prof Shyamala Mani, who is a Senior Advisor at WASH and Waste Management, CEH, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI); and Mr Himanshu Shekhar who is the Senior Editor of Political and Current Affairs, NDTV India. After inaugurating the session, Ms Aanchal Karnani and Ms Tripta Behera, researchers at IMPRI, gave a brief overview of the green growth sector of the union budget.
Mr Ashish Kothari, after thanking the team for the presentation, gave a few opening remarks on Green Growth. He also raised questions for the panel discussion. Mr Himanshu highlighted that the inability of the Indian states to take decisive environmental action in 2020 and 2021 was caused by a decrease in income collection. He wants the government to act aggressively in this situation. In her closing remarks, Prof. Shyamala Mani discussed how the woods and other greenery are balding due to encroachment and deregularization. She also discussed the links between microclimate, climate change, and non-communicable diseases.
Mr Debadityo Sinha criticised the way the environment sector’s budget was presented. Since the environmental budget impacts everyone, he anticipates it will be more open and inclusive. In her discussion of the circular economy, Dr Madhu Verma referred to waste as a resource that might yield greater returns. The union budget, according to Mr Soumya Dutta, was a failure because it did not place enough emphasis on biological diversity and climate change despite the fact that India already has more biological diversity than it needs. Since the national rural employment guarantee scheme was allegedly a congress scheme, Mr Ashish Kothari mentioned the budget cut.
The session concluded with closing remarks by Mr Ashish Kothari who thanked and praised the team at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute for hosting a successful panel discussion and for ensuring the smooth functioning of the event.