Initial thoughts on the budget

budgetWhile the budget speech cautions that development must be sustainable ecologically, it’s essentially rhetoric as there is no substance to back this up or ensure that the drive for investment will be governed by green regulations that protect our health, environment, forests and wildlife.
Indeed, the FM extols the Cabinet Committee on Investment, which is mandated to ‘fast-track’ forest & wildlife clearances.

What would have been very welcome is incentives to states for protecting standing old growth forests which provide ecosystem services  (ironically-and this is telling about the times we live in, there is a system in place to compensate-‘Net Present Value’- for forests that are cut down!’). States with high forest cover like Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal etc are demanding this since long-the Himalayas are the key to our water security, the forests nurture our soils, protect us from a  warming world. And while I hate to equate forests with money, view nature as only a resource, and wildlife to have to earn their keep-in the current climes it is imperative that we recognise  their contribution to not just our sustenance but also to our economy-and give incentives for protecting standing forests.

The foundation for this was laid by the 12th Finance Commission but no money has been released so far.




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