State’s action plan on climate change gets central approval

The Gujarat State Climate Change Action Plan 2015-2020 has finally got the Centre’s nod. The plan had been submitted in August 2014. 

Gujarat which had set up a much-hyped Asia’s first climate change department is among the last states to get approval from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Modi as the Gujarat CM had set up a the department which is now almost defunct. 

In the action plan, the state government proposes to invest more than Rs 21,000 crore to create environment-friendly water resource management, public health projects, forest and environment improvement projects, agriculture improvement projects and a number of studies in the next five years — 2015 to 2020. 

The plan suggests radical changes in the government functioning in nine sectors — agriculture, water resource management, healthcare, forest and biodiversity, renewable energy, coastal infrastructure, urban development, vulnerable community, green jobs. 

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) prepared the plan. While more than 25 states had submitted their state climate change mitigation action plans under the Prime Minister’s National Climate Change Action Plan, Gujarat had failed to finalize its plan which had been initiated in 2009. 

The plan has raised serious concerns about the likely socio-economic and environmental impact of climate change in Gujarat and predicted adverse impacts on agriculture, health of people and environment. The report predicts serious sea level rise, increase in diseases like malaria and other epidemics, gastric problems, fluorosis, kidney and skin diseases. 

It has suggested huge investments in building new infrastructure to mitigate the impact of climate change and also stressed upon radical policy changes in governance, industries and other sectors. 

The report has pointed out that in almost all coastal districts, there is a gradual shift in the cropping pattern, decline in area under horticulture and reduction in yield of crops.

However, even with the existing pressure on agriculture sector, the state has shown an increasing trend in crop yield, especially since 2001-02. Lack of fodder and health impacts on animals have affected the animal husbandry sector too.

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