India’s Consideration of Ethics and Justice Issues in Formulating Climate Change Policies

Usha Tandon

This report responds to the research questions of the International Research Project on “National  Climate Change Commitments: An Ethical Analysis”, a joint project of the University of Auckland, School of Architecture and Planning and Widener University, School of Law, Environmental Law Center with support from IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law. The research questions and responses are as follows:

1. Identify the most recent national commitment on reducing ghg emissions (INDCs) made by the country and the date on which it was made.

At midnight on 1st October, 2015 , India has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), for the period 2021 to 2030 containing eight goals. It has voluntarily pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level. It needs to be highlighted that, unlike most of the developed countries, India in its INDC has not made a commitment on reducing its emissions but has pledged to reduce its carbon intensity, which means that the emissions may increase for its development but its intensity will be reduced. It has also promised to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) Press Statement, 2nd Oct., 2015). It has further vowed to enhance its forest and tree cover which will absorb 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030. Government of India’s long term goal is to bring 33% of its geographical area under forest cover. It has further pledged to adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.

2. Given that any national ghg emission target is implicitly a position on atmospheric ghg concentration that will avoid dangerous climate change , to what extent has the nation expressly identified an atmospheric ghg level target goal or a warning limit that its INDC is designed to achieve and is it possible to quantitatively examine how the ghg emission target links to an atmospheric ghg concentration or carbon budget?

The first part of the question relating to ghg level target goal that India’s INDC is designed to achieve has been dealt with in answering Q.No.1. The quantitative analysis of the concentration of ghg emission and the atmospheric concentration is possible by scenario analysis which is made to analyse specified emissions pathways or concentration profiles for future climate change. India identifies the potential danger out of the carbon emission and atmospheric concentration therefore the INDC is designed on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building. The major step that is taken to improve the condition is to make advancement in the sustainable sources of energy. The country said that while it would not act under pressure from any other country and it is claimed that about 100 GW through solar power will be produced which will in turn save 145,000 tonnes of carbon emissions and this is to be achieved before 2020, while the INDCs are supposed to be for the period after 2020. Solar, wind and other renewable energy sources are to be developed so that there is less pressure on the non renewable sources and hence less and less emission of ghg. National Mission for Enhanced Energy is aimed at providing the framework for energy efficient economic development which leads to energy efficient financing platform. These missions and plans are to combat with the high concentration of pollutant in atmosphere (Planning Commission , 12th Five Year Plan, (2012-2017). The major parameter of INDC in India being the mitigation, adaptation and capacity building and the budgetary allotment of money for different missions shows the seriousness of the country to lead on the path of sustainable development. There is a need to bring the quantitative techniques in order to analyze all the factors in the domain to get a real picture of the effect on climatic change. The successful implementation of INDC is contingent upon an ambitious global agreement including additional means of implementation to be provided by developed country parties, technology transfer and capacity building following Article 3.1 and 4.7 of the UNFCCC.

3. Given that any national GhG emissions reduction is implicitly a position on what ethics, justice and equity requires of it, to what extent has the nation expressly identified the justice or equity basis that it has considered in determining a ghg emissions reduction target percentage level?

On 25th September, 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, expressly identified the justice basis in determining ghg emissions reduction target level. While drawing a crucial difference between climate change and climate justice, he turned the world’s attention towards poverty, the ill-effects of climate change and sustainable development. Explaining the difference between the two, he pointed out that in speaking for climate change, there is a perception of our desire to secure the comforts of our lifestyle, but when we speak of climate justice, we demonstrate our sensitivity and resolve to secure the future of the poor from the perils of natural disasters. Climate justice, he indicated, is a “question on equity”, its central principle is common but the responsibility is “differentiated”. While emphasizing on the elimination of poverty, he pointed out that it was not just a question of moral responsibility nor the dignity and respect of the poor, but of a shared vision of a just world, a peaceful world, and a world with sustainable development.

Further, India’s INDC to UNFCCC itself is entitled “Working Towards Climate Justice”. The Introductory part of INDC highlights that much before the climate change debate began, Mahatma Gandhi, regarded as the father of our nation had said that we should act as ‘trustees’ and use natural resources wisely as it is our moral responsibility to ensure that we bequeath to the future generations a healthy planet (MoEFCC, Press Statement, 2nd Oct., 2015). Thus, India has declared its INDCs based on principles of ‘climate justice’ and ‘common but differentiated responsibility’. The INDC document is said to be prepared with a view to taking forward the vision of a ‘sustainable lifestyle’ and ‘climate justice’ to protect the poor and vulnerable from adverse impacts of climate change. While announcing the INDC, Mr.Prakash Javadekar, Minister MoEFCC said in the press conference that even though India is not part of problem, it wants to be part of solution as India has historically not been responsible for the emissions. But with total CO2 emissions of 1.97 billion tons, it is currently the 3rd biggest emitter making India’s stand a very complex case.

India, as a matter of fact, in the past also, considered justice and equity issues while setting the target for reducing ghg emission. In the Warsaw conference, India and other developing nations made attempts for the creation of strong institutional mechanism in order to address the loss and damage on the basis of equity. India is trying to have a broader and clearer understanding about the ethical and political implications as it has large mass of people large mass of people whose interest shall be hampered. India understands importance of equity in the climatic dialogues by taking the reference of the Article 3.1 of the UNFCCC, as this Article speaks about “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” India’s stand is totally based on the law of equity which says that every individual should have equal access to development, implying an equal share of the earth’s carbon budget. This stand means that carbon dioxide emissions were to be reduced globally; the rich should be the first and fastest to do so and the poor, the last. India has used its low per capita emissions to push the point that its engagement in emissions reductions efforts should be deferred until after countries with higher per capita emissions reduce theirs. The main purpose of this paying attention on climatic change is to attain sustainable development and equity to overcome related social problem like poverty, illiteracy and ill health.

4. To what extent, if any, has the national debate about the nation’s INDC considered or acknowledged that the nation not only has economic interests in setting its ghg target but also ethical obligations to those who are most vulnerable to climate change?

Much of the answer to this question has been covered under Q.No.3. Apart from that, it may be stated that India has been announcing a number of social protection programmes and policies to enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities. These may not be under the phraseology of ‘climate justice’, but these policies do recognize the nation’s ethical obligations to the people and communities who are most vulnerable to climate change. The most popular expressions that are used in recognizing climate justice in India are-human rights aspect of climate change, humanitarian approach to climate change and sustainable development etc. The expression ‘Climate Justice’ does find its prominent place in the most recent document on INDC.

I will be mentioning here a few of those endeavors which demonstrate ethical obligations of India to those who are most vulnerable to climate change. For example, The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (NREGA) guarantees 100 days of employment in a year to the rural poor. Wages are fixed at the State minimum wage. The program can support climate-smart development. The Act considers significant labour toward appropriate adaptive works, including water conservation, catchment protection, and plantations. It provides funds for tools and other items necessary to complete activities and technical support for designing and implementing the projects. NREGA, by encouraging works on water harvesting, flood protection, afforestation and plantation, helps to insulate local communities from adverse effects of climate change. Some other major schemes significantly showing ethical obligation of the nation with adaptation objectives are -Rural Self-employment Program, 1999; National Rural Health Mission 2005; National Rural Drinking Water Programme 2009; Desert Development Programme 1997; Sustainability of Dryland, Rainfed Farming System and Disaster Management 2005.
The present Modi government has launched, (Sep., 2014) a slew of welfare schemes (eleven schemes) aimed at uplifting the poor, empowering women and youth and for the people under Below Poverty Line (BPL) . The PM Modi criticised the schemes of previous governments for the uplift of poor commenting that those schemes will only make them more dependent. While applauding his government’s schemes, he emphasized that these policies would ensure dignity with self-sufficiency to the needy. To quote his words “Due to our bad luck, the schemes and programmes that run in our country are such that they make poor people dependent on government instead of making them self-dependent and self-confident. If government programmes stop, the poor will die of hunger”. Recently announced (May, 2015) social security schemes by the Modi government include accident insurance, life insurance and a pension plan benefitting the people from the economically deprived and the unorganized sections, who are neither covered by any form of insurance nor get any pension.

5. To what extent have NGOs or other major participants engaged in climate change policy formation at the national level examined the national INDC from an ethics, justice or equity perspective?

The stakeholders in India engaged in climate change, more or less, have welcomed India’s INDC from ethics, justice and equity perspective. I am presenting below the reaction of some of the important Green Bodies. Center for Science and Environment (CSE) commented that India’s INDC is fair and is quite ambitious, specifically on renewable energy and forestry. It reflects its development challenges along with the aspirations of large numbers of poor people. CSE further remarked that India has accepted the huge impact that climate change is exerting on different sectors of its economy and has agreed to enhance investments to adapt in vulnerable sectors like agriculture, water resources, coastal regions, health and disaster management. According to Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace India, clear articulation of a renewable energy target would also have been in keeping with expectations for climate justice, as these are the people most vulnerable to climate change. Given the growth in the renewable energy sector, it pointed out, that it would have been better to see a specific target for solar and wind. 40 per cent of electricity from renewable energy by 2030 is definitely possible, especially so with financial and technical support. It termed the climate targets as steps in the right direction. Action Aid India remarked that despite huge developmental challenges, India has put forward a climate action plan that is far superior to ones proposed by the US and EU. India’s ambitious focus on energy efficiency and dramatic increase in renewable energy deserves credit but must lead to enhanced energy access for the poor. This clearly puts the onus on developed countries to meet their obligations of providing public finance and technology transfer to developing countries. Farming communities, who are already distressed, are suffering even more from erratic and extreme climatic conditions. Changes in India’s climate are leading to land and coastal degradation, soil erosion, loss of bio-diversity. Indian government’s focus on adaptation therefore comes at a critical time for its population. Even the hawkish Climate Action Network, a body of 950 NGOs, has observed that India has demonstrated its willingness to play an important role, even while noting that India’s signal could no doubt be stronger.

6. To what extend has the national media covered issues concerning the national INDC with respect to ethical, justice and equity issues?

The national media – print media, broadcast media and online media – in India has been quite active and sensitive since the 1990’s. Ever since the emergence of the birth of Kyoto Protocol, the national print media (national English dailies) like the Hindu, the Indian Express, the Times of India and the Hindustan Times have been covering the issues extensively. Numerous national environmental magazines like, Geography and You, Down to Earth, Ecoearth, Forbes India, etc. and several journals have been covering all the relevant and current problems and matter of climate change with respect to ethical, justice and equity issues. At the regional and local level, the coverage by vernacular print media is not prominent due to commercial decisions and lack of trained science journalists. The broadcast media like, TV channels, radio and online medium has also been proactive in sensitizing the public on ethical, justice and equity issues of climate change.

7. Before any nation may adopt an INDC or climate policy it often has to satisfy national economic interests. Yet nations fail to disclose the national economic interests that have actually affected the lack of aggressiveness of the national INDC when commitments are made under the UNFCCC. Given this, what is known about the actual basis for the aggressiveness of the national INDC?

The MoEFCC, Government of India being the nodal agency for climate change has constituted Working Groups on the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol. India is pursuing action-oriented policies to bring rapid development for the nation simultaneously resolutely addressing climate justice issues. To meet the challenges of climate change, the Government of India has executed the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in June 2008 to outline India’s strategy. The NAPCC has eight missions in specific areas of (i) National Solar Mission, (ii) National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency, (iii) National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, (iv) National Water Mission, (v) National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, (vi) National Mission for a Green India, (vii) National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture and (viii) National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change which addresses both mitigation and adaptation components of climate change. The Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change headed by the Prime Minister of India monitors and reviews the mandate and activities under the said eight missions.

The key achievements made under the eight national missions include installation of 2,970 MW of grid-connected solar generation capacity; 364 MW of off-grid solar generation capacity; 8.42 million sq. meters of solar thermal collectors. The government prepared long term transport plan for cities, sanctioned 760 water supply projects, distributed 2.58 million LED bulbs (7 watts), created 1,082 new Ground Water Monitoring Wells, developed 11,000 hectares of degraded land; brought 1 million hectares under micro-irrigation to promote water efficiency; created 5.4 million metric tonne agricultural storage capacity, established 6 new centres relevant to climate change in existing institutions in Himalayan states, and created an observational network to monitor the health of the Himalayan ecosystem( MoEFCC, Annual Report, 2014).

Thus, India has been aggressively working in mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, development and transfer, capacity building and transparency of action in support of climate justice and hence has demonstrated to the world that it has vision and the political will to act in this field. It has, however, been historically observed that ghg emissions and development of a country increase proportionally. As India has a Human Development Index of 0.586, it needs to develop for better quality of living . Thus making a commitment on reduction of the emission to a drastic extent is neither feasible nor advisable, therefore India has, rightly, promised in INDC on the reduction of emission intensity.

8. What formal mechanisms are available in the nation for citizens, NGOs and other interested organizations to question/contest the nation’s ethical position on climate change?

The MoEFCC under the Government of India is committed towards maintaining accountability and transparency in climate change related issues and thus it gives utmost importance to queries of information raised or requested by a citizen of India. Thus, any bonafide citizen of India may seek any information related to climate change subject matter under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. In order to effectively make the Right to Information Act, 2005 operational and for better accessibility to public, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has set up a special unit known as the ‘RTI Cell’ headed by a Central Public Information Officer (CPIO). The CPIO on receipt of a request for information shall reply as expeditiously as possible within thirty days and an applicant who does not receive any reply within the stipulated time or is aggrieved by a decision of the CPIO may appeal to the Appellate Authority. However, RTI Act can be used only by a citizen (i.e. a natural person), NGOs and other interested organisations which are legal entities/persons but not citizens are disqualified from availing RTI .
Besides, the RTI Act, one can also challenge or contest in the Court of law through Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the High Courts or Supreme Court of India. Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees to all person right to life and personal liberty and hence if one’s life is jeopardized by the nation’s ethical position on climate change, he can challenge on the ground that his fundamental right of right to life (i.e. right to a wholesome and clean environment) is violated, praying to the court to issue an appropriate writ. One can also contest through the mechanism known as Citizen Suit Provision. Under the Citizen Suit any person can complain to the Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of first class for the violation of provisions contained in various statutory environmental law of the country. An interested stakeholder can also approach the State Pollution Control Boards .

9. Are you aware of any regional, state, provincial, or local governments in your country that has acknowledged ethical responsibility for climate change? If so, what have they said?

The MoEFCC has launched numerous programmes and awareness campaigns at State and district levels, throughout the territory of India, on climate change and climate justice. The broad policy initiatives of the government under NAPCC are supplemented by actions of the State Governments, NGOs, initiatives of the private sector and other stakeholders. Thirty two States and Union Territories have put in place the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) attempting to mainstream climate change concerns in their planning process. Many other national strategies and policies supplement the above efforts. The Energy Conservation Act, 2001 has been enacted to encourage efficient use of energy and its conservation. The National Policy for Farmers, 2015 focuses on sustainable development of agriculture. The National Electricity Policy, (NEP), 2015 underscores the focus on universalizing access to electricity and promoting renewable sources of energy, as does the Integrated Energy Policy (IEP), 2014. Policies to promote actions that address climate concerns also include fiscal instruments like coal cess, cuts in subsidies, increase in taxes on petrol and diesel, market mechanisms including Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT), Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) and a regulatory regime of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).

Apart from these, MoEFCC also provide financial assistance for Seminars, Symposia, Workshops and Conferences. The financial assistance is provided to universities, academic institutions, colleges, non-governmental organisations, Government Departments, etc. The objective of this funding is to provide a forum to professionals, scientists, environmentalists, other groups of the society to share knowledge and experience on various aspects of environment.

10. Has your national government taken any position on or otherwise encouraged individuals, businesses, organizations, subnational governments, or other entities that they have an ethical duty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
The Constitution of India, 1950, is one of the rare constitutions of the world that clearly imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen to protect the environment. Article 51-A (g), says that “It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures.”

Another chapter in the Indian Constitution known as Directive Principles of State Policy is directed towards ideals of building welfare state. Healthy environment is also one of the elements of welfare state. Article 47 mandates that the State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties. Article 48 directs the State to take steps to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines. Article 48-A of the constitution directs that “the state shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country”. At local and village level also, Panchayats have been empowered under the constitution to take measures such as soil conservation, water management, forestry and protection of the environment and promotion of ecological aspect.

The pro-active Indian judiciary under Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has passed plethora of judgments providing climate justice to Indian masses. The Supreme Court of India has recognised right to clean environment as a fundamental right of persons under Article 21dealing with right to life. Turning the hazardous industries’ ethical obligation for mitigation of climate change into legal obligation the Apex Court has applied Polluter Pays Principle and evolved the principle of Absolute Liability for the restoration of degraded environment and compensation to the affected victims.

The National Environment Policy, 2006 recognizes that the maintenance of the healthy environment is not the responsibility of the State alone but also the responsibility of every citizen. Thus, the policy mandates that a spirit of partnership between the Government and citizen is to be realized. The Policy includes the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities of different countries, identification of key vulnerabilities of India to Climate Change, impacts on water resources, forests, coastal areas, agriculture and health, assessment of the need for adaptation to Climate Change and encouragement to the Indian Industry to participate in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change is an advisory group on climate change issues. It is composed of representatives from both Government and Non Government Members. The Council coordinates National Action Plans for assessment, adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change and advises the Government of India on proactive measures that can be taken to deal with the challenge of Climate Change and also facilitate inter-ministerial coordination and guide policy in relevant areas.

Citizens of India are an integral part of country’s strategies to combat climate change. Policies like Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission), cleaning of rivers, achieving energy efficiency are all examples of policies which are contingent upon full participations of India’s citizens for their successful implementation. In addition to being involved in Government initiatives related to climate change and resource efficiency, private sector has also embarked on a number of voluntary actions. It plays a key role in sustainable development efforts in the country. For example, Companies Act 2013 directs companies having a certain level of profits, to spend 2% of their annual profit on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Estimates indicate that a fair share of the available CSR funding of about INR 220 billion (USD 3.5 billion) annually will be invested in environment initiatives from this window. The Indian industry has also participated in voluntary carbon disclosure programmes whereby they report their carbon management strategy and GHG emissions. Latest Report by Carbon Disclosure Project, India indicates a reduction of 165 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent by Indian industries. Indian industry has undertaken many initiatives to reduce their water consumption. A study of 100 companies over a 5 year period covering 12 sectors indicate that the Indian companies on an average have been reducing their specific water consumption by 2.8 to 3 % per year. Smart Power for Environmentally-sound Economic Development (SPEED) is a program that aims at electrification of rural areas based on a decentralized renewable energy system. GreenCo Rating System is first of its kind in the world which assesses companies on their environmental performance across 10 different parameters to help them develop a roadmap to improve further.

11. What recommendations would you make to get the nation or civil society in the country to take ethics and justice issues seriously in climate change policy formulation?

Various studies, around the globe, show that ghg emissions have been directly proportional to global population over the past forty years( 1970 to 2010), wherein growth in emissions over the period was equivalent to 1.59% p.a., and growth in population was equivalent to 1.64% p.a. The fact that world population is projected to reach 8.1 billion in 2025, and to further increase to 9.6 billion in 2050 and 10.9 billion by 2100, is highly relevant to understand the nuances of climate justice. This is more relevant in Indian context, as India, which is today, the second most populous country in the world, is likely to become the most populous country in the world soon overtaking China.

A review of UNFCCC framework reveals that population issues are not tackled in its agenda and the link between population dynamics and climate justice, which is crucial and unavoidable, has not been recognized. Thus, there is an urgent need for formal official recognition of the population and climate justice link in climate discourse. This will bring UNFCCC into a cooperative relationship with other UN agencies that work to stabilize population growth as quickly and humanely as possible. This would also result in increased resources for sexual and reproductive health programmes. In India, though the population issues do recognize that the country’s efforts to protect the environment are being neutralized by increase in population, the Indian climate concerns could not adequately recognize that population factor is one of the major factors in dealing with climate justice in India. The population issue is probably the most uncomfortable and divisive of all the climate concerns in India. There is a tendency to avoid population issue. However, if the issue of population stabilization is ignored, it will eventually render all efforts on climate justice fruitless, which may result in disastrous consequences. It is recommended, therefore, that India should table a draft text on population and climate justice for adoption in UNFCCC agenda at the forthcoming COP 21 in Dec, 2015 in Paris to call on UNFCCC to ensure that COP acknowledges the importance of population as a key driver of climate justice and places the issue high on the agenda. Even after submitting its INDC, India can take this lead, as it reserves the right to make additional submissions on (INDC) as and when required.

Apart from this main recommendation, the answers to above questions clearly show, that in India, there is no dearth of policies, programs, rules, regulations and judicial pronouncements addressing and redressing climate change issues from the perspective of ethics and justice. The need of the hour is to religiously execute and implement the announced policies, enacted laws and pronounced judgments, wherein India usually lacks behind.


I acknowledge the research assistance rendered by Mr. Moatoshi Ao and Mr. Shourie Anand, Assistant Professors, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi for writing this report.


1.  India submitted its INDC at the eleventh hour, as 1st October, 2015 was the deadline for submitting (INDCs) by various countries in the run up to the COP21 in Paris in December, 2015.

2. The present name of the Ministry was given in 2014, when Modi government took over the charge. Previously it was known as Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).

3. In the past also, India had declared a voluntary goal of reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 20–25%, over 2005 levels, by 2020, despite having no binding mitigation obligations. A bundle of policy measures were launched to achieve this goal. As a result, the emission intensity of India’s GDP has decreased by 12% between 2005 and 2010.

4. The other goals relate to Sustainable Lifestyles; Adaptation; Mobilizing Finance and Technology Transfer and Capacity Building.

5. The Modi government has renamed The Planning Commission as Niti Aayog.

6. Eleven schemes were launched as a part of Swavavlamban Abhiyaan (self reliance drive) namely, Aid for milch cattle and equipments to tribal women; Milking machines and chaff cutters for cooperative rural milk producing women groups; Assistance to cooperative milk producing women groups to build ‘dudh ghar’; Mukhyamantri Amrutam Maa Vatsalya Yojana for construction labourers suffering from occupational health diseases; Interest benefit to farmers to build warehouse in farm; Tablet distribution to ITI apprentice studying computer courses; Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Young Entrepreneurs Scheme ; Benefit in interest on self-employment loan to ITI apprentice ; Shri Nanaji Deshmukh Housing Scheme; Dattopant Thengdi labor interest assistance scheme for construction laborers and Impex-B’s formation to expand employment-oriented services and middle-class oriented schemes, accessed 26 September 2015

7. Below Poverty Line (BPL) is a poverty threshold used by the government to identify individuals and households in need of government assistance and aid. It is determined using various parameters which vary from state to state and within states.

8. India is a developing country with a per capita GDP (nominal) of around USD 1408 per annum. However, this doesn’t reflect the wide disparities amongst its people and regions. Around 363 million people (30% of the population) live in poverty, about 1.77 million people are houseless and 4.9% of the population (aged 15 years and above) are unemployed. The per capita electricity consumption stands low at 917 kWh, which is barely one third of the world’s average consumption.

9. MoEFCC, Government of India, accessed 10 September, 2015.

10. However if an application is made by an employee or office bearer of any corporation etc. indicating his name and stating that s/he is a citizen of India, information may be supplied to him.

11. Prominent environmental statues containing Citizen Suit include – The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and National Green Tribunal Act, 2010.

12. Pollution Control Boards at the Central level and State levels have been constituted by an Act of Parliament passed in 1974.

13. It may be noted that the preamble to Indian Constitution ensures socialist pattern of the society and dignity of the individual. Thus the basis of justice and ethics in formulating climate change policy is inherent in it.

14. The landmark cases in this regard are –M.C. Mehta v Union of India, AIR 1987 SC 965; Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v Union of India, (1996) 3 SCC 212; Vellore Citizen’s Welfare Forum v Union of India, (1996) 5 SCC 647.

15. See e.g. J.N. OíSullivan, letter to UNFCCC Secretariat for attention of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform, (2012) 1-2 , accessed 5 September 2015.

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