Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched India's approach towards balancing development and environment at a G-20 summit side event.

Highlighting India's sustained push towards lowering emissions, Modi said, "Today, we are focused on saving our citizens and economies from the effects of the global pandemic. Equally important is to keep our focus on fighting climate change. Climate change must be fought not in silos, but in an integrated, comprehensive and holistic way."

Infrastructure push

According to Modi, India has adopted low-carbon and climate-resilient development practices. "I am glad to share that India is not only meeting our Paris Agreement targets, but also exceeding them. India has taken concrete action in many areas," he said.

"India is making next-generation infrastructure such as metro networks, water-ways and more. In addition to convenience and efficiency , they will also contribute to a cleaner environment. We will meet our goal of 175 Giga Watts of renewable energy well before the target of 2022. Now, we are taking a big step ahead by seeking to achieve 450 Giga Watts by 2030," Modi said.

"We have made LED lights popular. This saves 38 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Smoke-free kitchens have been provided to over 80 million households through our Ujjwala Scheme. This is among the largest clean energy drives globally," he said.

"There are efforts to eliminate single-use plastics. Our forest cover is expanding, the lion and tiger population is increasing. We aim to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, and, we are encouraging a circular economy," he added.

Modi also stressed on the need for a stronger Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. He said, "18 countries - including 9 from among the G20 - and 4 international organisations have already joined the coalition. CDRI has started work on increasing resilience of critical infrastructure. Infra damage during natural disasters is a subject that has not got the attention it deserves. The poorer nations are specially impacted by this. Therefore, this Coalition is important."

ISA's contribution

PM Modi also made a pitch for the India-France led International Solar Alliance (ISA).

The prime minster said, "ISA is among the fastest growing international organisations, with 88 signatories. With plans to mobilise billions of dollars train thousands of stake-holders, and promote research and development in renewable energy, the ISA will contribute to reducing carbon foot-print."

War against Covid

Speaking earlier at the G20 summit, Modi suggested a new global index for the post-Covid-19 world comprising four key elements including creation of a talent pool, ensuring technology for all, providing transparency in governance and dealing with 'Mother Earth’ with a spirit of trusteeship.

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Focus needs to be on talent pool creation, more transparency in governance, environment protection, and technology for all

Based on these, the G20 can lay the foundation of a new world, Modi said while addressing the two-day virtual G20 Summit that began on Saturday. The 15th G20 Leaders’ Summit was chaired by Saudi Arabia and attended by heads of state and government of the 19 member countries and representatives of the European Union and international organisations.

Noting that the Covid-19 pandemic was the biggest challenge the world had faced since the Second World War, Modi called for decisive action by the G20, not limited to economic recovery, jobs and trade, but focussing on preserving planet Earth as people are trustees of humanity’s future. The summit culminated with Saudi Arabia passing on the G20 Presidency to Italy.

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