The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has emphasized that sustainable development is our priority. Delivering the inaugural address at the International Conference on Rule of Law For Supporting the 2030 Development agenda/Sustainable development goals, the Prime Minister said that the ideals of ‘Bahujan hitay, Bahujan sukhay’ (well being and happiness of the maximum number of people) cannot happen unless the development process is inclusive and sustainable. He said that the government aims to encourage education, skill development, digital connectivity and entrepreneurship in a sustainable manner. He also said that anything which is not sustainable, cannot be called development.
The Prime Minister said that poverty is the biggest challenge for environment and eradication of poverty is one of the fundamental goals of the government. Modi said that the poor, vulnerable and marginalized groups have fewer resources to cope with climate disasters. He underscored the need to look within to make a meaningful impact on environment. Reiterating the need for Climate Justice, the Prime Minister stated that rules, laws, practices and principles of one country cannot be applied to another uniformly. The Prime Minister said that India’s commitments at COP-21 underline the Indian ethos, which aim at changing human lifestyle along with changes in the manner in which economic activity is undertaken.
Addressing the gathering, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Javadekar said that the Prime Minister convinced the world at Paris about Climate Justice and sustainable lifestyle. The Minister said that Climate Justice is about justice to the 3 billion poor people of the world. Javadekar said that both the concepts of Climate Justice and Sustainable Lifestyle have been mentioned in the Preamble of Paris agreement.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley pointed out that the proposals presented in Budget 2016-17 pertain not only to coal and fossil fuels, but also towards hydrocarbons. The Finance Minister said that two important programmes on environment are Swachh Bharat and Clean Ganga campaigns. He pointed out that the 0.5% cess on all services will go only towards Swachh Bharat campaign. He also added that adequate money for Clean Ganga campaign has been provided. Shri Jaitley also said that as part of the Clean Ganga campaign, the most polluted stretch from Kanpur to Varanasi is being taken up for cleaning River Ganga. The Finance Minister emphasized that the decision to provide LPG connections to mitigate the adverse impact of ‘chulha’ is not only a social sector scheme, but also an environmental programme. He also stated that while hybrid and electric vehicles have been encouraged, more polluting vehicles have been discouraged.
The three-day Conference has been organized by National Green Tribunal NGT), Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Ministry of Water Resources and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The objective of the Conference is to bring together Chief Justices, judges, environmentalists, scientists, lawyers, academicians, executives in the field of environment to exchange ideas on environmental issues such as climate change and disaster management, threat to marine environment, waste management and air pollution. Some of the other issues to be deliberated include – global warming, marine environment, rule of law, remedies and judicial mechanism, increasing pollution and the impact on forest, wildlife and environment.