The Indian government has shown strong will and has been vocal about the importance of moving the nation towards a greener tomorrow. From FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s 2019 budget speech, wherein she envisioned a “pollution-free India with green Mother Earth and blue skies”, to PM Modi’s vow to double India’s non-fossil fuel target to 450 GW by 2022 at the UN Climate Action Summit, the political climate in India—for now—is enthused about the country’s green growth.
Achieving these ambitious targets, however, requires an unprecedented scale and size of investment at a minimum, $2.5 trillion until 2030 according to India’s Nationally Determined Contribution.
In a country which needs upwards of $200 billion of investment in infrastructure per year instead of the current $80-90 billion, are we doing enough to achieve these ambitious targets? Do we have the mechanisms in place to identify gaps, measure progress, and optimise the deployment of resources in a way that can effectively unlock investments at the transformational scales needed? Do we have credible monitoring and reporting mechanism in place which can validate the results? We need to answer the first question while keeping the backdrop of the devastating economic impact of the pandemic, which has required the government to take steps that protect the lives and livelihoods of its citizens.
While there may be a consequential shift from a focus on clean energy investment, the pandemic itself has underlined that mitigating the effects of climate change will need to be at the forefront of economic growth.
This is the opportune moment to assess whether we have systems for tracking and reporting of mitigation-related finance flows, as this is essential for building trust and accountability in country data on climate-related commitments. It is equally important to measure and monitor the effectiveness of each rupee spent on mitigating the effects of climate change.