Climate action plan in Karnataka poorly financed: Study

Climate action plan in Karnataka poorly financed: Study

Noting that budgetary support should be consistent, the study pointed to the lack of funding for renewable energy in the 2019-20 budget

Each state has a role to play in ensuring that India meets the Nationally Determined Contribution goals. Credit: iStock Photo

More than a decade after realising the importance of the climate action plan, the state government has failed to fund the mitigation and adaptation programmes as the annual budgets aim more at economic programmes which are no more than band-aid solutions, experts have warned.

The draft Karnataka State Action Plan on Climate Change, which suggests allocation of Rs 20,880 crore in 2025 and Rs 52,827 crore in 2030 for climate-specific programmes,  has been sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

The experts appointed by the state government have drawn the action plan on the basis of the MoEF guidelines in setting targets for Karnataka. Each state has a role to play in ensuring that India meets the Nationally Determined Contribution goals to which it committed in the Paris Agreement.

“We have sent the action plan to the ministry (MoEF), which will evaluate and approve our programmes. Once this is done, the state government can fund the projects through budgetary sources, grants and other means,” sources in the government said.

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A review of the state government’s plans, which is part of the draft plan, showed that “actions set out under the state action plan were poorly financed.” There were 103 schemes, mostly from agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors, that directly or indirectly addressed climate action.

Noting that budgetary support should be consistent, the study pointed to the lack of funding for renewable energy in the 2019-20 budget. Except for Namma Metro, promotion of public transport is absent, it added.

Krishna Raj, Professor at Centre for Economic Studies and Policy in the Institute for Social and Economic Change, who studied the government’s schemes, said climate action “happened” as a side effect of the programmes.

The state government spent Rs 9,899 crore in 2017-18, Rs 11,626 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 8,253 crore in 2019 on agriculture, horticulture, forestry and water resources sector for several programmes.

“However, these schemes and programmes were mainly economic in nature. For example, an agriculture scheme may benefit the farmer and help him withstand the losses caused by climate change for a year. However, it neither implements a mitigation measure not an adaptation measure. Most of the programmes are band-aid solutions,” he said.

Raj said the government has failed to pull up the private sector in participating in the climate action plan. “While the government should set aside 5% of the budget outlay for climate action, the private sector should also be made to invest as they are the biggest contributors to climate change,”
he said.

He said the state government has to set up an institute of excellence comprising scientists, economists and specialists from different fields.

“This institute should be empowered to set climate goals, draw up action plans and monitor their implementation. At present, the data on the programmes and their implementation is very poor, making it difficult to see where we are erring,” he said.

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