Social Justice

Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management

Congress re-affirms its profound commitment to rapid, inclusive and sustainable development, and to protect its ecosystems, local communities, flora and fauna. We recall that it was Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who first put in place the laws, regulations and institutions for that purpose. The National Action Plan on Climate Change was prepared under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Despite the BJP’s misinformed criticism of the Action Plan, the BJP/NDA government subsequently acknowledged its relevance and validity. However, there have been several departures from the previous policies and important components such as environment protection, forest conservation, biodiversity preservation, coastal zone regulation, wetlands protection and protection of tribal rights have been weakened.
Air pollution and water pollution continue to extract a heavy toll on public health. Livelihoods are being destroyed in tribal and ecologically sensitive areas.
Congress will address the issues of environment and climate change with the seriousness they deserve.

  1. We will constitute an independent Environment Protection and Climate Change Authority to establish, monitor and enforce environmental standards and to enforce the National and State Climate Change plans.
  2. We will launch a Green New Deal Investment Programme focused on renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure and the creation of green jobs.
  3. We will strengthen the National Clean Air Programme in order to urgently tackle the problem of air pollution.
  4. Congress will work with state governments to stop the discharge of effluents into the rivers and water bodies of India.
  5. Congress will appoint a high-level committee to study the issue of landslides in the hill districts, evolve measures to prevent landslides and ensure citizens’ safety.
  6. Congress will protect the coastal zones of the country. The coastal zones will be preserved without affecting the livelihood of fishing communities.
  7. India experienced the biggest loss of forest cover after Brazil between 2015 and 2020. We will work with state governments to increase the forest cover, redefine ‘forest’ and ‘forest cover’ in accordance with modern scientific standards, and involve local communities in afforestation.
  8. Congress will provide clean cooking fuel at affordable prices to all households of the country. We will ensure that the use of LPG cylinders is increased from the current paltry average number of 3.7 per year among Ujjwala beneficiaries.
  9. In order to facilitate the funding required for Green Transition and to achieve the goal of net zero by 2070, we will set up the Green Transition Fund of India together with state governments and the private sector.
  10. We will not limit disaster management to humans and will expand it to include other vulnerable lives such as wild animals, domestic animals, pets and livestock.
  11. We will increase the allocation to the National Adaptation Fund and review the guidelines for use of the Fund.
  12. We will transition from the 2008 National Action Plan on Climate Change to a National Climate Resilience Development Mission to ensure that all sectors of development provide protocols for action and measurable targets.
  13. Conflicts between humans and wildlife have increased. We will intervene and find solutions that are specific to the areas of conflict.


India has 18 per cent of the world’s population but only 4 per cent of water resources. Climate change and an erratic monsoon have added to the water stress felt by farmers, industries, consumers and others.

Water Management and Sanitation
  1. Congress will expand the remit of the Ministry of Jal Shakti and bring all water-related activities and departments under one authority
  2. We will implement a nationwide plan to provide potable water in all cities, towns and village panchayats.
  3. Water harvesting will be made mandatory. Desalination plants will be installed in all coastal areas. The use of recycled water will be promoted for non-drinking and industrial purposes.
  4. Congress will pay special attention to access to water and democratic sharing of water. We will address these issues by focusing on storage in dams and water bodies, replenishing groundwater and creating a large participatory programme of water management involving the state governments, civil society organisations, farmers, panchayats and gram sabhas, and municipalities.
  5. Our rivers are polluted because of the discharge of effluents into the rivers. Discharge of any kind of effluent into rivers will be prohibited by law. Panchayats and municipalities will be required by law to devise and implement schemes for disposal of effluents and waste.
  6. Congress will end the evil of manual scavenging. Every manual scavenger will be rehabilitated, re-skilled, provided a job and assured a life of dignity and safety. The Prohibition of Manual Scavenging Act, 2013, will be strictly implemented and any person employing anyone for manual scavenging shall be punished. We will provide compensation of ₹30 lakh to families of sanitation workers deceased while at work. We will allocate sufficient funds to enable the procurement of machines that will clean sewers and septic tanks, and remove human waste. Free insurance will be provided to all sanitation workers.
  7. In collaboration with state governments, a comprehensive programme of underground drainage and safe disposal of sewage will be implemented in all towns and municipalities in 10 years.