State plans climate-friendly policies

A draft State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) has recommended a set of 54 policy remedial measures ranging from restructuring of power tariffs in agricultural sector to introduction of groundwater cess. The recommendations, which arrived after consultations with government departments, scientific institutions and experts, cover the departments of agriculture (including horticulture and animal husbandry), water resources, forestry and biodiversity, coastal zone management, energy, urban development and health. The role of agencies to implement the remedial measures has also been elaborated in the action plan prepared by Environment Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) under the Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment. After Rajasthan, Karnataka is the most vulnerable state in the country to climate change.

Some of the recommendations in the report would require major tinkering with present public policies of the government. For instance, the report suggests the establishment of a State-level body to review the possibility of prohibiting the use of groundwater for non-drinking and non-emergency purposes.

The 224-page report also suggests that the government should explore the possibility of formulating a pricing policy for use of irrigation water. (see box for other major recommendations) EMPRI Director General R M N Sahai said the final report would be submitted to the government after incorporating some suggestions provided by departments to the recommendations made in the draft. Later, the report will be sent to the Centre for its approval.

The State-level action plans are being prepared as a part of the announcement made by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change in 2008 about the need to formulate a national action plan on climate change.

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