Budget 2015-16 expectations: civil society groups demand more funds for climate adaptation

Policies should ensure that climate adaptation becomes integral to development, say activists

 
By Jyotsna Singh
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

As deliberations on the second Union Budget of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance government begin, civil society groups and activists have released their demands for budget allocation in many fields, including climate change action. The paltry sum of Rs 100 crore that was allocated during the Union Budget 2014-15  for National Adaptation Fund (NAF) has led to much thinking. Guidelines to operationalise this fund are still awaited.

"This is a very small amount to meet needs of adaptation for the entire country. Budget estimates of 2006-07 show that as much as 2.6 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) was spent on adaptation. This was Rs 60-70,000 crore. Even if the government doubles the amount from last budget, Rs 200 crore is hardly anything." said Arjuna Srinidhi, programme manager, climate change, Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based non-profit.

He suggested that amount given to NAF should be utilised for adaptation-related research and analysis, which can help national and state governments to frame adequate policies. "States should make policies in a manner that climate change adaptation becomes an integral part of development," said Srinidhi.

A document by People's Budget Initiative, a pan-India collaboration of organisations, demands that the focus should shift from mitigation to adaptation. The organisations said that due to focus on mitigation, making climate change less severe, adaptation, which can help people more directly, gets adversely affected.

Emphasising on the need to prioritise funding for development of renewable energy, analysis in the document shows that average allocation for this sector for the 11th five year plan was merely 0.072 per cent of the total budgetary expenditure. It further declined to 0.047 per cent in 2014-15.

The share of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in National Clean Energy Fund in 2013-14 was 80 per cent. It was reduced to 34 per cent in Union Budget 2014-15, primarily on account of transfer of Rs 1,500 crore from NCEF to National Ganga Plan under Ministry of Water Resources.

Major demands of civil society groups

  • Need to improve urban drainage system
  • Higher budgetary allocation for grid connectivity of renewable energy sources
  • Increase the corpus and broaden the scope of National Adaptation Fund
  • Make climate change adaptation core to India's financial planning with all climate-sensitive ministeries

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