Union Minister for Railways, Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Monday said that a clean environment and sustainable inclusive development is a priority agenda for India and pledged renewed thrust to achieve climate goals in the post-COVID world.
Speaking at the UN Trade Forum 2021, Goyal said that India’s per capita CO2 emission is the lowest amongst big economies and that its ambitious renewable energy target of 450 Gigawatts by 2030 show commitment towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, according to an official statement. He said that climate justice should be protected and developed countries should reconsider their pattern of consumption and focus on sustainable lifestyles.
He also highlighted India’s bold steps on clean energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and bio-diversity.”We have also encouraged global initiatives like International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure,” he said. Calling for decoupling the trade policy and green goals, the Union Minister said that the trade policy should look for more inclusive growth all over the world and reiterated India’s long-standing position that measures related to environment and sustainability should not be linked to trade.
He also called for the UN and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to focus on getting the world together to fulfill their commitments around climate change and discussing issues relating to climate change under the UNFCCC Framework and the Paris Agreement, not as part of trade negotiations.Over the last seven years, the government has focused on ensuring 100 per cent electricity connections, 100 per cent access to toilets, 100 per cent financial inclusion and 100 per cent of the population get cooking gas, he stressed.
Goyal also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had apprised the G7 countries yesterday that by 2030 Indian Railways will run on clean energy and be a ‘net zero’ Railways.
He also mentioned that a large investment in healthcare is India’s focus and it is also focusing on renewable energy production and infrastructure. He said India can and will play a very important role in ensuring equitable availability of vaccines and medicines.
“We have the world’s largest free healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat, under which 500 million people in India have access to medical facilities free of charges. We are going to expand it to 100 per cent coverage for every citizen,” he added.Talking about India’s efforts towards sustainable development goals, Goyal said that India has provided free food grain ration to 80 crore Indians during the COVID pandemic. “Because of our public procurement programmes, we are able to provide such support to such a large number of people to ensure nobody dies of hunger,” he said.