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Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
16 FEB 2018 12:57PM by PIB Delhi
Text of PM’s address at the inauguration of World Sustainable Development Summit  (WSDS 2018)

Distinguished dignitaries on the dais,

Guests from India and abroad,

Ladies and Gentlemen

 I am very happy to be hereat the inauguration of the World Sustainable Development Summit.To those joining us from abroad:Welcome to India.Welcome to Delhi.

On the side lines of the Summit,I hope you shall have some timeto see the history and splendor of this city. This summitis a re-inforcement of India’s commitment to a sustainable planet,for ourselves and for future generations.

As a nation,we are proud of our long history and tradition of harmonious co-existencebetween man and nature.Respect for nature is an integral partof our value system.

Our traditional practicescontribute to a sustainable lifestyle.Our goal is to be ableto liveup to our ancient textswhich say, “Keep pure For the Earth is our MotherAnd we are her children”.

 

 One of the most ancient scriptures, the Atharva Veda, spells out

-माताभूमि: पुत्रोहंपृथिव्या:

 

This is the ideal we seek to live through our actions.We believethat all resources and all wealthbelongs to Nature and the Almighty.We are just the trustees or managers of this wealth. Mahatma Gandhi too, advocated this trusteeship philosophy.

Recently, National Geographic’s Greendex Report of 2014 which assesses the environmental sustainability of consumer choice,ranked India at the topfor its greenest consumption pattern.Over the years,the World Sustainable Development Summit has spread consciousnes about our actionsto preserve the purity of Mother Earthto all parts of the world.

This common desirewas on displayat COP-21 in Paris in 2015.Nations took a standto come togetherand work towards the common cause of sustaining our planet. As the world committedto bring about change,so did we.While the world was discussing'Inconvenient Truth’,we translated it into ‘Convenient Action’. India believes in growthbut is also committedto protecting the environment.

Friends, it was with this thoughtthat India,along with France, initiated the International Solar Alliance.It already has 121 members.It is perhaps,the single most important global achievementafter Paris.As part of the Nationally Determined Contributions. India committed to reducing33 to 35 percentof emission intensityof its GDPduring 2005 to 2030.

Our goal of creating a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030had once seemed difficult to many.Yetwe continue our steady progresson that path.According to the UNEP Gap Report,India is on track to meet its Copenhagen Pledge of reducing the emissions intensityof its GDPby 20 to 25 percent over 2005 levelsby 2020.

We are also on track to meet the 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution. The UN Sustainable Development Goalsput us on the pathof equality,equityand climate justice.While we are doingeverything that is required of us,we expect that others also join in to fulfil their commitmentsbased on Common but Differentiated Responsibilityand equity.

We must also stress on climate justice for all vulnerable populations.We in Indiaare focused on Ease of living –through Good Governance,Sustainable Livelihood and through Cleaner Environment.The campaign for clean Indiahas moved from the streets of Delhi to every nook and corner of the country.Cleanliness leads to better hygiene,better health,better working conditionsand there-by better income and life.

We have also launched a massive campaignto ensure that our farmersconvert agricultural waste to valuable nutrients, instead of burning them.

We are also happy to host the 2018 World Environment Dayto highlight our commitment and our continuing partnershipto make the world a cleaner place.

We also recognize the need to tackle the issue of water availability,which is becoming a major challenge.That is whywe have introduced the massive Namami Gange initiative. This programme,which has already started giving results,will soon revive  the Ganga,our most precious river.

Our country is primarily agrarian.Continued availability of water for agricultureis of importance.The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojanahas been launched to ensurethat no farm goes without water.Our motto is ‘More crop, per drop.'

India has a fairly decent report card on bio-diversity conservation.With only 2.4 percent of the world’s land area,India harbours 7-8 percent of the recorded species diversity,while supporting nearly 18 percent of human population.

 India has gained international recognitionfor 10 out of its 18 Biosphere Reservesunder UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere programme.This is a testimony that our development is greenand our wildlife is robust.

 

Friends,

 

India has always believed in making the benefits of good governance reach everyone.

Our mission of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas is an extension of this philosophy.Through this philosophy, we are ensuringthat some of our most deprived areas experience social and economic progresson par with others.

 In this day and age,access to electricity and clean cooking solutionsare basicsthat every person must be provided with.These form the coreof any country’s economic development.

Yet,there are many in Indiaand outsidewho are strugglingin the absence of these solutions.People are forced to use un-healthy cooking techniques that cause indoor air pollution. I have been told that the smoke in a rural kitchenresulting from this is a serious health hazard.Yet,few talk about it.Keeping this in view we have launched two far-reaching initiatives- Ujjwala and Saubhagya.From the time that they were launched,these schemes have already impacted the lives of millions.With these twin programmes,the time when mothers would fetch dry wood from forestsor prepare cow dung cakes,to feed their familieswill be gone soon.Soon too,the images of traditional firewood stoves will only remain a picturein our social history texts.

Similarly,through Saubhagya Scheme,we are working towards electrifying every

house-holdin this country,mostly by the end of this year.We recognizethat only a healthy nationcan lead the process of development.Keeping this in mind,we have launchedthe world’s largest government funded health scheme.The programme will support hundred million poor families.

Our ‘Housing for All’and ‘Power for All ’initiativesalso stem from this same agendaof providing the basic amenities of lifeto those who cannot afford them.

 

Friends!

You know that Indiais one sixth of the global community.Our development needs are enormous.Our poverty or prosperity will have direct impact on the global poverty or prosperity.People in India have waited too long for access to modern amenities and means of development.

We have committed to complete this tasksooner than anticipated.However,we have also saidthat we will do all this in a cleaner and greener way.To give you just a few examples.We are a young Nation.To give employment to our youth,we have decidedto make India a global manufacturing hub.We have launchedthe Make in India campaignfor this.However, at the same time, we are insisting on Zero defect and zero effect manufacturing.

As the world’s fastest growing major economy,our energy needs are immense. However,we have planned to draw One 175 Giga-Watts of energy from renewable sources by 2022.This includes 100 Giga-Watts from Solar Energyand another 75Giga-Watts from Wind and other sources.We have added more than14 Giga-Wattsto solar energy generationwhich was just about three Giga-Wattsthree years back.

With this,we are already the fifth largest producer of solar energyin the world.Not only this,we are also the sixth largest producerof renewable energy.

With growing urbanizationour transportation needs are growing too.But we are focusingon mass transportation systemsespecially metro rail systems.Even for cargo movement to long distances,we have started workingon national water-way systems.Each of our statesis preparing an action planagainst climate change.

This will ensurethat while we are working towards conserving our environment,we also

safe-guard our most vulnerable areas.One of our largest states,Maharashtra,has already adopted a plan of its ownin this direction.We intend to achieve each of our sustainable development objectiveson our own,but collaboration remains the key.

Collaboration between governments,between industries,and between people.The developed worldcan help us achieve them faster.

Successful climate action needs access to financial resources and technology.Technology can help countries like Indiadevelop sustainablyand enable the poor to benefit from it.

 

Friends.

 

We are here todayto act upon the beliefthat we as humanscan make a difference to this planet.We need to understand that this planet,our Mother Earth,is one.And so, we should rise above our trivial differences of race, religion, and power, and act as one to save her.

With our deep rooted philosophyof co-existence with nature and co-existence with each other, we invite you to join us in the journey of making this planet a more safe and sustainable place.

 I wish the World Sustainable Development Summit a great success.

 

Thank You

 

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AKT/SH/SK