New Delhi :At the outset, the Prime Minister wished the gathering on World Environment Day. Appreciating the ‘Save Soil Movement’, the Prime Minister said that at a time when the nation is taking new pledges during the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, such movements acquire a new importance. He expressed satisfaction that key programmes of the last 8 years have an angle of environment protection. He cited Swachh Bharat Mission or the waste to wealth related programme, reduction of single use plastic, one sun one earth or ethanol blending programme as examples of multi-dimensional efforts by India for preservation of environment.
The Prime Minister noted that India’s efforts to protect the environment have been multifaceted. India is making this effort when India’s role in climate change is negligible. Large modern countries of the world are not only exploiting more and more resources of the earth, but maximum carbon emission goes to their account. The Prime Minister said that the average carbon footprint of the world is about 4 ton per person per annum compared to just about 0.5 ton per person per annum in India. He said that India is working on a long term vision in collaboration with the International community on protecting the Environment and established organizations like Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, International Solar Alliance. The Prime MInister reiterated India’s goal of Net-Zero by 2070.
The Prime Minister informed that to save the soil, we have focused on five main things. First- How to make the soil chemical free. Second- How to save the organisms that live in the soil, which are called Soil Organic Matter in technical language. Third- How to maintain soil moisture, how to increase the availability of water till it. Fourth- How to remove the damage that is happening to the soil due to less groundwater. And fifth, how to stop the continuous erosion of soil due to the reduction of forests.
He said main efforts are being undertaken in the agriculture sector to alleviate the problem of soil issues. The Prime Minister said earlier, the farmers of our country lacked information about the type of soil, deficiency in soil, how much water is there. To overcome this problem, a huge campaign was launched to give soil health cards to the farmers in the country.
The Prime Minister informed that the Government is connecting the people of the country with water conservation through campaigns like catch the rain. In March this year itself, a campaign to conserve 13 big rivers has also started in the country. In this, along with reducing pollution in water, work is also being done to plant forests on the banks of rivers. Estimates are that this will add a forest cover of 7400 sq km which will add to the increase of 20 thousand sqkm forest cover in India that has been added in the last 8 years, he said.
The Prime Minister noted that the policies related to Biodiversity and Wildlife that India is following today have also led to a record increase in the number of wildlife. Today whether it is tiger, lion, leopard or elephant, the number of all is increasing in the country. The Prime MInister noted, for the first time initiatives relating to swachhta, self-reliance in fuel. Increasing the income of farmers and soil health related programmes were interconnected.He gave the example of Goberdhan Yojna.
The Prime Minister said that in natural farming, there is a big solution to some of our biggest problems. He said, in this year’s budget, the Government has decided to encourage natural farming in the villages situated on the banks of Ganga which will make a huge corridor of natural farming. This will not only make our farms chemical free but the Namami Gange campaign will also gain new strength. The Prime MInister informed that India is working on the goal of restoring 26 million hectare land by 2030. He said adoption of BS VI norms, LED bulb campaign.
The Prime Minister further informed that India has achieved the target of sourcing 40% of our installed power generation capacity from non-fossil-fuel 9 years ahead of schedule. Solar energy capacity has increased by 18 times and policies like Hydrogen Mission and Circular economy related policies, scrappage policy are examples of our commitment to environment protection, he said.
The Prime Minister disclosed that today, India has achieved the target of 10 percent ethanol blending, 5 months ahead of schedule. Elaborating on the enormity of the achievement, the Prime Minister said that in 2014 ethanol blending was at 1.5 percent. There are three clear benefits of achieving this goal, he explained. First, it has led to a reduction of 27 lakh tonnes of carbon emission. Second, it has saved foreign exchange worth 41 thousand crore and thirdly, farmers of the country have earned 40 thousand 600 crores in the last 8 years due to increase in ethanol blending. The Prime Minister complimented the people, farmers and oil companies of the country on this achievement.
The Prime MInister said that due to PM National GatiShakti Master plan logistics system and transport system will be strengthened and that will lead to reduction of pollution. Multi-modal connectivity work on more than 100 waterways will also help in reducing pollution. The Prime Minister attracted the attention of the audience on the aspect of green jobs. India’s momentum on environment conservation is creating opportunities for a large number of green jobs, he said. He asked for increasing awareness regarding environment and soil protection and concluded by calling for a people’s movement for creating 75 Amrit Sarovars in every district.
‘Save Soil Movement’ is a global movement to increase awareness about deteriorating soil health and to bring about a conscious response to improve it. The movement was started by Sadhguru in March 2022, who embarked on a 100-day motorcycle journey passing through 27 countries. 5th June marks the 75th day of the 100-day journey. Prime Minister’s participation in the programme will reflect the shared concerns and commitment to improving the soil health in India.