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Need to optimise use of budget allocation

The budget, in many ways, is the meat of policy.

budget Updated: Jul 07, 2019 22:13 IST
budget 2019,budgetary allowances 2019,nirmala sitharaman budget
The stock market index on a display screen at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai.(PTI)

People like me, whose lives are focussed on nurturing ideas of equity and sustainability, tend to read up the budget word for word, analysing it in detail.

This year, however, I’ve been thinking about the shallowness of this annual activity. The budget, in many ways, is the meat of policy.

You put your money where your mouth is. If we’ve seen a focus on electric vehicles, we know air pollution and mobility are on the government’s mind.

Yet, at several levels, we need to push for the implementation and usage of the funds in greater nuance, down the chain of command.

Let’s consider e-vehicles. We are happy to see them in the budget because they play a role in sustainable mobility.

Yet, most smaller roads in India are in such poor shape that any vehicle moving generates dust and pollution. Besides, can we now move public procurement to electric? Buses, government cars? And can we plan a strict regime for the battery disposal?

This is only one example of mainstreaming additional sustainability in budgetary allocations.

Think housing for the poor-something vital if we want to be the country of our dreams. How should they be built? Architects have built with exposed bricks, to reduce cement use, and designed homes for cool
summers and warmer summers.

Endless examples exist. So yes, we have the budgetary allocation but are we optimizing the opportunity the budget presents us with? Why don’t we create a whole new green paradigm to enhance its impact on India.

(The writer is the founder and director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group.)

First Published: Jul 07, 2019 22:06 IST