Environment gets more funds, but cut on Project Tiger
The Environment Ministry is proposed to be allocated Rs 2,675.42 crore in the 2017-18 Union Budget, an increase of Rs 399.42 crore over the last fiscal.
In 2016-17, the ministry had got a hike of over Rs 600 crore, about 39 percent over the previous year and a budget of Rs 2327.51 crore (revised estimate).
The 2017-18 budget proposals seem less promising vis-a-vis the ministry, as a crucial department like the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau received Rs 10.04 crore, the same as last fiscal, while some projects and departments received even less.
Project Tiger, National Green Tribunal, Central Pollution Control Board, Animal Welfare Board and Climate Change Action Plan also saw reductions in their allocations.
Funds proposed to be allocated to Project Tiger dropped from Rs 365 crore (budgetary allocation of Rs 375 crore) last fiscal to Rs 345 crore for the current financial year. However, the hike in 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat' for the next fiscal shows the aim is to improve the green corridors and overall conservation efforts.
Reflecting the government's commitment to international goals, the ministry will get extra funds for pollution abatement (Rs 11.6 crore hike), hazardous substance management (Rs 18.82 crore hike), new and renewable energy (Rs 155.56 crore hike) and the National River Conservation Programme.
However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who presented the budget proposals in the Lok Sabha, focused more on a clean economy and better working environment but missed specific mention of the environment, as he did last year while announcing the levy of clean energy tax.