Puducherry Sets a Green Milestone: Unveils the Pioneering Green Budget Report on World Environment Day
Puducherry, June 5, 2023: On the 50th World Environment Day, the Union Territory of Puducherry released the green budget report, making Puducherry the first Union Territory to adopt the policy innovation of green budgeting. Earlier this year, the UT in its budget session announced green budgeting, gender budgeting, and child budgeting as a triad of nudges towards a more inclusive and sustainable Puducherry. The report published by the Finance and Environment Departments, Government of Puducherry with research support from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) was launched at the World Environment Day public event presided by Shri N. Rangasamy, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Puducherry.
Green budgeting is a policy innovation that serves as a planning and assessment tool that can contribute to institutionalizing and integrating environmental sustainability in various government initiatives and promote a system-wide approach. Through ex-ante planning and ex-post reflection, departments need to reorient their goals, schemes, and policies to become more environmentally and climate sensitive. By doing so, departments could also assess how much a particular department contributes to climate change.
Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, Hon’ble Lt. Governor of Puducherry, in her message in the report, emphasized, “This budget is a significant step towards raising awareness among government stakeholders and civilians to promote a cleaner and greener environment, ultimately leading to sustainable development”. In his message on the report, Shri N. Rangasamy, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Puducherry, underscored, “Our success in achieving our green goals relies heavily on the collaboration and commitment of not only government departments but also our valued citizens”. “By incorporating environmental considerations into every aspect of governance, we can forge a future where the well-being of our people and the health of our planet go hand in hand”, stressed Shri Rajeev Verma, Chief Secretary of the UT.
The green budget of the Union Territory increased by 153% from INR 191 crores in the baseline year of FY 2022-23 to INR 483 crores in FY 2023-24. The percentage of the green budget in the identified schemes increased from 7.78% to 16.42%. As a share of total expenditure (revised estimates for FY 2022-23 and budget estimates for FY 2023-24), the green budget component increased from 1.66% to 4.17%.
In the report, Shri P. Jawahar, Finance Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Government of Puducherry underscored the “need for all government departments to include more green components in their schemes, emphasizing the integration of environmental considerations into policy and praxis.” Dr A. Muthamma, Secretary - Science, Technology and Environment, Government of Puducherry highlighted that green budgeting, “provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made and reiterates our dedication to an inclusive and comprehensive approach to environmental conservation and climate action.” Shri Yasam Lakshmi Narayana Reddy, Director - Science, Technology and Environment, Government of Puducherry expressed optimism that “the report would serve as a valuable resource for all government departments, enabling them to further their efforts in promoting sustainable practices and safeguarding the environment of Puducherry.”
In the baseline year, 9 departments identified schemes and green components, while in FY 2023-24, 15 departments identified both schemes and green components. Regarding budget heads, the baseline year includes 120 heads, while for FY 2023-24, 134 budget heads were identified. On the theme of the World Environment Day, among other initiatives, new initiatives included demonstration of plastic recycling through a crusher machine will enable an enhanced recycling of plastic bottles by crushing plastic bottles into small pieces or granules.
Dr Shailly Kedia, Senior Fellow and Associate Director, TERI, highlighted, “Statement 12 and Statement 13 of the Union Budget are on Child Budgeting and Green Budgeting respectively. Green Budgeting can be the third leg of the triad of nudges through budget making process. Puducherry is championing this policy innovation. Hopefully, this process can be adopted at the national level in the Union Budget process as well.”
Green budgeting can act as a self-assessment tool. The Green Budget Report of the Union Territory of Puducherry for FY 2022-23 (baseline year) and FY 2023-2024 is a comprehensive document that outlines the green budget allocation, highlights sustainability initiatives, maps activities to promote environment-sensitive planning, accountability, aligns with the sustainable development goals, and provides valuable recommendations for departmental budgeting. It serves as a road map for fostering sustainable development and promoting a greener future in Puducherry. Bihar was the first state in India to have adopted green budgeting followed by Odisha and Assam. Puducherry became the first Union Territory to adopt green budgeting in the budget session this year.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in India, is an independent, multi-dimensional research organization with capabilities in policy research, technology development, and implementation. An innovator and agent of change in the energy, environment, climate change and sustainability space, TERI has pioneered conversations and action in these areas for nearly five decades. Headquartered in New Delhi, it has centres in six Indian cities, and is supported by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, sociologists, economists, engineers, administrative professionals, and state-of-the-art infrastructure.