India has made rapid progress toward sustainable development in the past two decades and is also striving to acheive the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2000, India’s GDP grew from $466 billion to $2.5 trillion today, while its carbon dioxide emissions per capita fell from 1.9 tons to 1.7 tons. This impressive track record isn’t all attributable to luck or chance; India’s legal framework set it up for success. Sustainability and transparency are embedded in laws that protect natural resources, prioritize social equity, and implement a digital infrastructure that enables real-time monitoring of data and services.
What are Sustainable development goals?
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are internationally agreed development goals that were adopted by the United Nations in 2015. They were created to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and set out a vision for sustainable development over the next 15 years. SDGs aim to end poverty, protect the environment and ensure people can enjoy a healthy life.
The SDGs are divided into three broad themes:
Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030.
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Each goal is made up of several target areas that focus on different aspects of sustainable development. For example, reducing inequality is one of Goal 1’s targets. The SDG process was started in September 2015 with an Intergovernmental Meeting on Addressing Global Poverty at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The process was officially launched at the UN General Assembly in September 2016 with a new set of global goals called the Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainable Development Laws in India
You might not be aware of this, but India has a number of laws relating to sustainable development which exists in India much before these sustainable development goals were officially adopted by UN in 2015.
Take the Indian Forest Act, for example. This law was enacted way back in 1927 and is still in effect today. It’s been amended a number of times over the years, but the basic premise is to protect India’s forests and wildlife.
The law prohibits the destruction of forests, tree felling without a permit, and poaching of animals. It also regulates forest produce and requires companies to get permits before undertaking any kind of construction project.
There are other laws that relate to sustainable development, such as The Wildlife (Protection) Act,1972, The Environment (Protection) Act,1986 and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960. Each one has its own specific purpose, but all are aimed at safeguarding India’s environment for future generations.
The object of Wildlife (Protection) Act is to conserve the remaining population of vulnerable species by banning hunting, giving legal protection to their habitats and finally, restricting wildlife trade.
Environment Protection Act, aims to protect the environment from degradation. The act establishes guidelines for the management and use of natural resources and provides for the enforcement of environmental laws. The act also provides for the establishment of environmental institutions and the protection of threatened and endangered species. It also promotes the use of renewable energy.
Some of the other notable laws and regulations that have contributed in these goals are The National Green Tribunal Act,2010, The Forest Rights Act,2006 and the landmark Paris Agreement,2015.
The NGT was created in 1995 as a result of the National Green Tribunal Act. The objective of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act, 2010 is to provide a forum for redressal of environmental grievances and to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the environment.
The Tribunal which is a statutory body and has the jurisdiction to hear and decide cases pertaining to the protection and management of environment and the prevention of pollution.
The Forest Rights Act, 2006 is a landmark piece of legislation that recognises the rights of forest-dwelling communities to traditional forest lands and resources.
The Act ensures that these communities can continue to manage their forests sustainably, and to benefit from the economic and environmental benefits that forests provide.
1. Protect the natural resources of forests and to ensure that such resources are used in an environmentally sound and productive manner.
2. Promote the orderly use of forest resources.
3. Facilitate the development of forest-based industries and the creation of jobs.
4. Strengthen the economy of the forest sector.
New Policies adopted by India to acheive sustainable development goals by means of renewable energy.
India is on a mission to become a renewable energy superpower. In an effort to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, the country has implemented a number of new policies in recent years. Here are some of the most notable:
1. The Solar Renewable Energy Target The Solar Renewable Energy Target is a policy in India that sets a target for India to generate 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar renewable energy by 2022. The target has been revised to 1,00,000 MW by 2022. This target is significantly higher than the 6,000 MW that was originally proposed. Data source: vikaspedia.in
2. The Geothermal Renewable Energy Development Authority The Geothermal Renewable Energy Development Authority was created in 2014 to promote and develop geothermal energy in India. GARD is responsible for both the development and the procurement of geothermal energy. With the help of international collaboration with countries such as the United States, Philippines, Mexico, and New Zealand, India plans to harness 10,000 MW (10 GW) of geothermal energy by 2030. Data source: indiaenvironmentalportal.org.in
3. The National Solar Mission The National Solar Mission (NSM) is a policy in India that sets a target for India to install 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2022. This includes 100 GW of solar energy, 60 GW of wind energy, 10 GW of biomass power, and 5 GW of small hydro power. This is five times the amount of solar energy that was installed in India in 2016.Data sorce: prsindia.org
4. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission for Small Solar Systems (JNNSM-SSS) is a policy in India that sets a target for India to install 1,000 MW grid connected (33 KV and above) solar plants, 100 MW of roof top and small solar plants connected to LT/11 KV grid and 200 MW capacity equivalent off-grid solar applications by 2022. This target is intended to promote the use of solar panels in rural areas. These policies are helping India to transition away from its reliance on fossil fuels and towards a more sustainable future. By implementing these measures, India is demonstrating its commitment to reducing the impact of climate change on society and the environment. Datasource: vikaspedia.in
In order to acheive these SDGs India has also enacted other programmes and policies including the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP), The National Forest Policy, The National Water Policy, The National Disaster Management Policy. It promotes Sustainable Agriculture, Green Transportation, Smart cities.To fight with employment and poverty, schemes such as Atmanirbhar Rozgar Yojana, Make in India, Beth Padhao Beti Bachao etc has been adopted.
India has always been an important player in the global push for sustainable development. Over the years, it has enacted a number of laws and regulations that have contributed to this goal.
As India continues to grow and develop, it is important that its laws and regulations reflect these changes. The government has made strides in this area, but there is still more work to be done. With its unique perspective and vast experience, India has the potential to play a leading role in sustainable development.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I think we can be proud of the progress we’ve made so far. And I’m sure that with your help, we can continue to make India a model for sustainable development in the years to come.