TN revamps climate change action plan: What the new draft says

The state government plans to undertake 199 activities across seven sectors to cope with changing climatic concerns.
TN revamps climate change action plan: What the new draft says
TN revamps climate change action plan: What the new draft says
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Tamil Nadu’s recently released draft of a revamped plan on climate change highlights detailed action to be taken to deal with the rising challenge. The document also highlights the proposed implementation measures and gap in financial resources to fund the implementation of the action plan.

The Tamil Nadu State Action Plan on Climate Change (TNSAPCC) was first formulated in 2014 in line with the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), after the Government of India encouraged states to prepare their own action plan in line with the sensibilities of the respective states. The revamped TNSAPCC outlines the present capacity of the state, fixes goals to be achieved, and identifies the gaps that are to be addressed to achieve the goals.

Since India has undergone tremendous change over the last few years, the Union government pushed the states to revise the earlier plan to act against climate change.

In alignment with the national action plan

The draft of TNSAPCC broadly aligns its goals with the eight missions laid out by the NAPCC: increasing the share of solar energy in the total energy mix; enhanced energy efficiency; infusing sustainability in building constructions, waste management and transport systems; efficient water management; designing measures to protect and preserve the Himalayan glaciers and mountain ecosystems; addressing carbon emissions; designing methods to make Indian agriculture more resilient to climate change; and understanding the challenges to climate change and developing ways to respond to those challenges.

Tamil Nadu’s proposals

Based on the broad outlines provided in the NAPCC, the government of Tamil Nadu, in its policy document draft, has identified seven sectors which are to be revamped to suit the changing climate concerns. These sectors are sustainable agriculture, water resources, forest and biodiversity, coastal area management, strategic knowledge for climate change, disaster management and mitigation, and health and sanitation.

The government aims to undertake 199 activities falling under those seven sectors for which fund allocation has been proposed till the year 2030. These activities will be undertaken on priority based on its impact in addressing the vulnerability due to climate change.

The government of Tamil Nadu has also stated that the proposed action plan will cost the exchequer around Rs 3.2 lakh crore for a period of 10 years. While the funds available from the central and state budgetary allocations stand at Rs 2.2 lakh crore, there is a deficit of slightly over Rs 1 lakh crore, for which funding sources have to be identified.

In order to facilitate proper implementation of the plans, the state government has formed a Climate Change Steering Committee headed by the Chief Secretary. This committee will make decisions related to the actions to be taken to deal with climate change. A Nodal Climate Change Cell has also been set up in the Department of Environment, Tamil Nadu to oversee the implementation of the action plan. The government has also roped in Anna University to provide expert inputs on TNSAPCC.

Apart from this, the implementation of sector-wise actions rests with the concerned departments in the state, which will be responsible to ensure that it is done by the decided deadline.

Draft inaccessible and incomplete: Critics

Meanwhile, the draft policy has come under severe criticism from NGOs and other stakeholders for various reasons. One of the major criticisms put forward by the stakeholders is that the draft was released only in English and not in Tamil, thereby making it inaccessible to many experts, who might not be well versed in English. The critics have also raised red flags on the manner in which the draft was drawn without gathering inputs from stakeholders like farmers, local bodies and academics. 

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