Greenpeace demands a "Green Budget" during consultation with Mukherjee

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New Delhi, Jan.13 (ANI): Meeting Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at a pre-budget consultation, environment watchdog Greenpeace said on Thursday that it was high time the Government brought a 'green' component to it and stressed the need for a socially just and ecologically sustainable Union budget 2011-2012.

Greenpeace emphasized on more funds for clean and renewable energy systems and shifting focus on ecological agriculture.

"While we appreciate the participatory processes that the finance ministry is undertaking, we hope this translates into a Union budget 2011-12 that would put in place ecologically sustainable and socially just fiscal policies," Greenpeace India Executive Director Samit Aich said.

Union budget reflects the thinking and policies of the government towards ensuring the kind of development that the country wants. To ensure the growth which is clean and sustainable, India needs to rethink the energy pathway.

India needs to develop a sustainable energy system, factoring the critical need of energy security, to ensure that it continues and even builds strategic leadership in the path to developing sustainable and clean energy solutions.

"If India is committed to providing access to affordable and reliable energy to millions across India, while simultaneously servicing the needs of economic growth, it is imperative for the Finance Ministry to build on steps from 2010, with a 2011 budget which creates a conducive environment for an acceleration of investment in renewables, including decentralised renewable energy options" said Mr Aich.

Greenpeace also laid emphasis on promotion of ecological agriculture. Constant degradation of natural resources namely soil, water and biodiversity is affecting agriculture, threatening food security and farmers's livelihood in India.

oreover, the mindless usage of chemical fertilisers catalyzed by the chemical fertilizer subsidy policy of successive Union governments has led to its degradation.

While the Government spent Rs. 49,980 crore during 2009-10 to promote chemical fertilizers, the total amount spent on the other flagship schemes that has components to promote ecological fertilization is only Rs. 5374.72 crore, almost one tenth of the amount spent on chemical fertilizers. Considering the fact that the ecological fertilization, is one of the several components that gets assistance under these schemes, the support for the same is negligible.

Further a stakeholder survey conducted by Greenpeace India as part of its "Living Soils" campaign, which covered 1000 farmers in five different states between July and November 2010 revealed that only 1% of the respondents received any kind of Government support for practising ecological fertilization

"The government needs to create an alternate support system that promotes all components of ecological fertilization so that our soils can be brought back to a healthy state. The focus of the subsidy needs to shift from chemical to ecological fertilization.

We recommend the creation of an Ecological Fertilisation Mission in the coming budget," Greenpeace said in its submission to the ministry. (ANI)

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