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Environment yet to become a 'political agenda', experts slam interim budget

Environment yet to become a political agenda, experts slam  interim budget

NEW DELHI: The environmentalists of Delhi expressed their disappointment as the interim budget of Centre has not seen any allocation for the environment. The government has already launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) focused on curbing the pollution but a little vision on the scheme was shown in the budget, said experts.

The experts also noted that this would mean that the environment is yet to become a "political agenda". "We understand that it was an interim budget but we expected more from the government on the NCAP. The increase in budget shows that they are giving importance but the importance is not up to the mark. Environment yet to become the political agenda," said an expert.

The NDA government's Interim Budget ahead of the general elections was a low-key affair for the environment, climate change and Ganga cleaning. The Union environment ministry for environment, forest and climate change received a budgetary allocation of Rs 3,175.72 crore, which is 18.7 per cent more than the revised Budget of Rs 2,675.42 allocated during the on-going financial year. The biggest addition for environmental conservation was the allocation of Rs 460 crore to the "Control of Pollution" head, largely owing to the Rs 300 crore outlay for the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that was rolled out last month.

NCAP has a target of 20-30 per cent reduction in air pollution by 2024 across 102 cities where air quality has continuously exceeded national standards. The plan will consider 2017 as the base year for measuring the reduction in levels of PM2.5 and PM10 pollutants. However, there was no increase in the allocation for climate change action plans or adaptation funds.

The Budget documents stated that 'control of pollution' has been conceptualised to provide financial assistance to pollution control boards, committees, to fund NCAP and other schemes such as national water monitoring programme and national ambient noise monitoring network.

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