“On global climate scene, we are going ahead with our actions and our own convictions”
“We want the world to move ahead on the green path and as PM has said there is no pressure on us from other countries but there is the pressure of climate change and pressure of future generation,” said Union Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar in an interview to Deepak Kumar Rath, Editor. Excerpts:
You have been the spokesperson of the party for a long time, how do you see the Lalit Modi affair, which looms large on horizon?
Already the last word has been said on Sushma Swaraj’s controversy by Arun Jaitely that she did it on humanitarian ground. Even our party president has clarified on it. As far as Vasundhara Raje is concerned, Dushyant’s transactions of money with Lalit Modi are purely commercial; no irregularities are involved in them. A section of media with an agenda is playing a dirty game over it, but with no time, it will come to an end.
As an opposition leader Vasundhara clearly mentioned that her information should not be publicized.
There is no such document.
Congress threatens to disrupt the upcoming monsoon session over the issue, how do you see it?
Congress not only lost the election but also lost the plot itself and people’s confidence. They know that they have been exiled from politics at least for 15 years. With desperation they announced something; let’s wait till the third week of July. I hope any kind of politics should not hamper the parliamentarian proceeding.
Tom Vadakkon says while UPA 2 was running the government, BJP would always stall the Parliament sessions, now BJP is blaming us. Your comment.
We never created a ruckus on non Issues. It’s a bad justification.
One year into the government, how do you assess your achievement? Define achhe din through your ministry.
We are taking policy-based decisions. We are making processes transparent and time bound but there is no compromise on environmental conditions. They will remain as they are or even more stringent. There was no compliance. What we are going in for is 24×7 pollution monitoring, which is one such initiative. We revised the whole waste management system, we have Swachh Bharat initiative, and we take due care of nature. There are many more initiatives in store and we will make them public once these are final.
Amid growing concerns over deteriorating air quality in the capital, Delhiites are inhaling highly contaminated air. What major steps have been taken by your ministry to control pollution?
Every day, we monitor air quality in NCR, and trend is showing very well that quality is improving.
The recent strike by sanitation workers had turned East Delhi into a huge garbage dump for a few days? Though it is not under your ministry, what is your comment on it.
That is why we are tightening the screw now, not only over the Delhi government but also over the entire corporations. Unfortunately, media didn’t raise the pollution-related issues earlier. If it had done so, Delhi’s air would not have been in such a bad condition. Strike happens in democracy, but I appeal people to take part in local governance.
What are the major initiatives taken by environment ministry so far?
24*7 online submissions of application, waste management rules with new technology and monitoring them properly. Our direction is: Simple clean water, clean air and more greenery. These are the three things on which we are building our environment protection. We introduced Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) bill. The unspent accumulated amount (Rs 38,000 crore) was blocked by UPA government. This amount is supposed to be utilised for building green environment. Fresh and clean air is our birth right. We are going to start a campaign in schools where one child would plant a new plant. “I own one tree” would become part of teaching in schools.
Is there a chance of a new environment policy for forest land? Prime Minister’s Make in India campaign has direct link with your ministry, how do you see it.
Greening degraded forests should be a priority. We have already started urban greening. In cities, people will pay money to plant trees in memory of their loved ones as we are creating a public participation in urban greening. We have taken policy decision in tribal areas; forest dwellers are deprived of good roads because of archaic decisions, but we have to follow environmental norms to make good roads. We will not widen them but will make them better for swift transportation; potholes will be vanished.
We are decentralising the policies, now it’s a state concern.
What leadership role is India playing in climate negotiations?
The world has already got a changed image of India and we were not negative and we always gave positive suggestions. We want the world to move ahead on the green path and as PM has said there is no pressure on us from other countries but there is the pressure of climate change and pressure of future generation. Therefore, we are going ahead with our actions and our own convictions and we will continue to do so. This approach has been appreciated by world leaders and everyone wants India to play a lead role and we are ready to play that lead role and we are giving options to the world. India is taking huge actions at its own, without any legal binding. Before 2020, India will produce more solar energy than any other countries; see yoga and everything is environmental friendly.
Why is India not using traditional ways for cleaning, and for protecting environment?
Whatever good India has will be promoted across the world, as we did with yoga and the world accepted it. However, hawan may not be that much useful for now, so, I will go for scientific ways.
Multinational food companies still use polythene begs. Why are they not restricted?
The health risks of air pollution are extremely serious. Reducing pollution means improving health conditions. There are some good organisations and they are working to make society better. We have banned below 40 micron polythene plastic manufacturing; we will amend law with no ambiguity.