Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said India will spend $50 billion [approximately Rs 3.5 lakh crore] on water conservation in the next few years. He spoke about India’s ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, which promotes water conservation, rainwater harvesting, and the development of water resources in his address at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.

Modi, in his Independence Day speech last month, had promised to spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore on the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’. In keeping with India’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement, Modi had announced in his speech that the country will increase its share of sustainable fuel.

On Monday, the prime minister pledged to increase the country’s share of non-fossil fuel to 450 gigawatts, which is more than double the previous aim of 175 gigawatts. Modi also added that the goal would be achieved by 2022.

“In India we have made plans to make our transport sector green through e-mobility,” the prime minister said. “India is also working to considerably increase the proportion of the biofuel blend in petrol and diesel.”

The United Nations Climate Action Summit is an attempt to increase action by countries towards environmental protection and implement the Paris Agreement. The primary aim of the deal is to evoke a strong international response to the threat of climate change by restricting a global temperature rise.

Modi also called for a “global people’s movement” to trigger a behavioural change to deal with the problem of global warming. “We must accept that if we have to overcome a serious challenge like climate change, then what we are doing at the moment is just not enough,” he said. “The time for talks is over. The world needs to act now.”

The prime minister urged United Nations’ member states to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure that will be launched in India. The coalition would work with countries such as the United Kingdom and island states of Maldives and Fiji to adopt an infrastructure that can withstand climate change and disasters. Respect for nature, sustainable use of resources, and living within means had been a part of India’s tradition, Modi said.

Among other areas, India was also focused on the usage of bio gas, said Modi, adding that his administration had provided clean cooking gas to 150 million families. He said that this ensured an improvement in the health of the environment along with that of children and women.

Modi also announced that India and Sweden would soon launch a leadership group within the industry transition track. “This initiative will provide a platform for governments and the private sector with opportunities for cooperation in the area of technology innovation,” he said. “This will help to develop low carbon pathways for industry.”

He also called for a movement to end single-use plastic and hoped that it will bring about increased awareness at an international level about its harmful impact.

The climate summit will kick off the UN General Assembly session, which will officially begin on Tuesday.

Later in the day, Modi is expected to attend a leaders’ dialogue on “Strategic Responses to Terrorist and Violent Extremist Narratives”.


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