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PM Modi Inaugurates National Conference of Environment Ministers of all States in Gujarat

PM brought everyone's attention to the net zero target for the year 2070. He also emphasized the value of maintaining harmony with the natural world.

Shivam Dwivedi
PM Narendra Modi at National Conference of Environment Ministers
PM Narendra Modi at National Conference of Environment Ministers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off the National Conference of Environment Ministers in Ekta Nagar, Gujarat through video conferencing. In his address to the gathering, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed everyone at the National Conference of Environment Ministers.

The Prime Minister emphasized that the conference is taking place when India is establishing new goals for the next 25 years. In terms of significance, the Prime Minister stated that Ekta Nagar's holistic development is a prime example of an environmental pilgrimage in terms of forests, water conservation, tourism, and our tribal brothers and sisters.

Using the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and the LiFE movement as examples, the Prime Minister stated that India is not only making considerable strides in renewable energy but also guiding other countries worldwide. "Today's new India is moving ahead with new thinking, new approach," the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister went on to say that India is a rapidly developing economy that is constantly improving its ecology. Our forest cover has increased, and our wetlands are rapidly expanding," he added.

The Prime Minister stated that the world is now joining India because of its track record of meeting commitments. "The numbers of lions, tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinos, and leopards have increased over time. New excitement has returned following Cheetah's return to Madhya Pradesh a few days ago," the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister drew everyone's attention to the net zero target for the year 2070, saying that the country's focus is on green growth and green jobs. He emphasised the importance of maintaining balance with nature. He also emphasised the importance of state environmental ministries in achieving these goals. "I urge all environment ministers to promote a circular economy as much as possible in the states," the Prime Minister said. Modi went on to say that it will significantly strengthen the Solid Waste Management campaign and free us from the clutches of single-use plastic.

Continuing on the role of the environment ministries, the Prime Minister stated that this role should not be limited. He bemoaned the fact that the Environment Ministry had become more of a regulator for a long time. "I think the role of the Environment Ministry is more as a promoter of the environment than as a regulator," the Prime Minister said. He urged states to take ownership of policies such as vehicle scrapping and biofuel initiatives such as ethanol blending and strengthen them on the ground. He requested healthy competition as well as state collaboration to promote these measures.

In addressing groundwater issues, the Prime Minister stated that even states with abundant water are experiencing water shortages today. The Prime Minister stated that challenges and measures such as chemical-free natural farming, Amrit Sarovar, and water security are not limited to individual departments, and that the environment department must consider these as an equally pressing challenge. "It is critical for the environment ministries to take a participatory and integrated approach. I am confident that when the vision of the environment ministries changes, nature will benefit as well."

While emphasizing that this work is not limited to the Information or Education Departments, the Prime Minister stated that public awareness is an essential aspect of environmental protection. "As you are all aware, a lot of emphases has been laid on experience-based learning in the National Education Policy that has been implemented in the country," Modi added. The Prime Minister stated that the Ministry of Environment should lead this campaign. This will raise children's awareness of biodiversity while also planting the seeds of environmental protection. "Children living in coastal areas should be taught how to protect the marine ecosystem as well. We must teach our children and future generations to be environmentally conscious," the Prime Minister added.

Following the mantra of Jai Anusandhan, our states' universities and laboratories should prioritize environmental protection innovations. The Prime Minister also emphasized the importance of using technology to protect the environment. "Study and research on forest conditions are equally important," Modi added.

Focusing on the alarming rate of forest fires in the Western world, the Prime Minister stated that while India's contribution to global emissions may be negligible due to wildfire, we must remain vigilant at all times. The Prime Minister emphasized that each state's forest fire fighting mechanism should be technology-driven and robust. Shri Modi also emphasized the importance of training our forest guards when it comes to fighting forest fires.

The Prime Minister cited the Pragati Maidan Tunnel in Delhi, which was recently dedicated to the nation. "Because of this tunnel, the number of people stuck in traffic in Delhi has decreased. The Pragati Maidan Tunnel will also save more than 55 lakh litres of fuel per year," he added. According to experts, this equates to more than 6 lakh trees. "Whether it's flyovers, roads, expressways, or railway projects, their construction all contributes to lower carbon emissions. We should not overlook this angle during clearance," Modi said.

The Prime Minister emphasised the use of the Parivesh Portal, a single-window mode for all types of clearances related to the environment while stressing its transparency and efficacy in reducing the rush for getting approvals. “Where environment clearance used to take more than 600 days 8 years ago, it takes 75 days today”, the Prime Minister added.

In his closing remarks, the Prime Minister stated that the Ministry of Environment is more than just a regulatory body, but also a great medium for economic empowerment of the people and the creation of new jobs. "There is a lot to learn, see, and do in Ekta Nagar. Sardar Sarovar Dam, which provides Amrit to crores of Gujaratis, is present here and such a massive statue of Sardar Saheb inspires us to keep the pledge of unity," he added.

The Prime Minister noted that solutions to issues such as the simultaneous development of ecology and economy, strengthening the environment and creating new employment opportunities, bio-diversity as a medium to increase eco-tourism, and how the wealth of the forest goes up with the wealth of our tribal brothers and sisters can be addressed in Kevadiya, Ekta Nagar. The event was attended by Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and Union Minister of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change Bhupendra Yadav.

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