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Indian electoral manifestos connect with climate

New Delhi: Cutting across political and regional divides, several political parties in India today are promising to address the myriad issues of climate change and renewable energy in the country. In the run up to the national elections, political parties like the Indian National Congress (INC), Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), All India Trinamool Congress, Aam Admi Party (AAP) and others, in their recently released election manifestos, have committed to implement a wide-range of measures -- from giving a new thrust to new and renewable energy, to formulating a comprehensive national energy policy; from establishing a National Wind Energy Mission and accelerating implementation of the National Solar Mission, to the usage of solar energy by all panchayats and villages. The political parties, for the first time, are expositing several ideas and actions on climate change, clean energy, energy efficiency, rural electrification and decentralized renewable energy solutions, green buildings and cities and energy access.

The Climate Parliament welcomes this political development and will continue to work towards policy, financial and fiscal reforms necessary to achieve 12th Five Year Plan targets for renewable energy, energy access and climate change. In the past few years, parliamentarians and legislators in the capital and the states, who are part of the Climate Parliament network, have been raising their voice and taking several legislative and political actions for renewable energy, energy access and rural electrification. The Climate Parliament MPs and MLAs will direct all their efforts to get these promises implemented by the political parties post-election.

The two principal political parties of the country – Congress and BJP – have taken a comprehensive note on issues related to climate change and renewable energy. The Congress promises ‘to give a new thrust to new and renewable energy’, to ‘enable the provision of clean, efficient and affordable energy for all.’ The manifesto also promises to launch two new Missions, a National Mission on Wind Energy and a National Mission on Energy Efficiency. The party will continue to implement the various missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. The BJP will ‘give a thrust to renewable sources of energy as an important component of India’s energy mix’ and will also ‘expand and strengthen the national solar mission.’ As a far-reaching commitment, the BJP will come out with a responsible and comprehensive ‘National Energy Policy’. BJP will encourage cleaner production, green building and cities and renewable energy would be accorded highest priority.

Two prominent regional parties BJD and DMK, belonging to the coastal states of Odisha and Tamilnadu, are welcome newcomers in the energy area. According to the DMK election manifesto, they ‘will press for formulating and implementing special projects for generating non conventional energy with the energy sources of air, sunlight and sea waves so as to give priority to sustained growth and environment protection’. DMK will also ask the Centre to devise a plan and execute it for generating solar energy on government land in villages considering the requirement of respective villages.’ The BJD wants the each panchayat and model library, lighted and run by the solar energy.

The youngest political party of the country, AAP has taken a stand for the development of renewable energy: ‘Phased shift towards renewable source of energy; promote decentralized renewable energy solutions, such as solar power, bio-gas plants, watermills, and water pumps, to reduce infrastructure and maintenance costs and encourage local ownership.’

The NCP has also gone into much length to deal with energy issues, renewable energy, climate change, sustainable development, transport and other environmental issues. They have promised to give importance to non-conventional energy, especially the solar and wind energy. The party also focuses on effective rural electrification programme. They also details about the need of adequate budgetary provisions: ‘Unless and until substantial budgetary provision is made by the Union government and state government as well as encourage private investment for generation of energy, the gap between the demand and supply in the energy sector cannot be eliminated.’

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