Highways to unsustainability
“The risks of climate change are the strongest negative externalities that affect India” said the country’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while introducing its 2022-23 national budget. Her speech and the budgetary documents also refer to ‘sustainable development’ several times. These signal a stated intention to not only meet India’s obligations under the UN SDG framework, but also recent climate commitments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Climate COP26 at Glasgow. How much does the budget back up this stated intention? How much will it contribute to environmental sustainability and to the immediate and long-term livelihood and life security of one-sixth of the world’s population?