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carbon footprint

India’s green urban mobility plan

India has committed to cut its GDP’s emission intensity by 33-35% by 2030 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The need to revamp urban transport strategies to reduce CO2 emissions and facilitate better mobility in the cities was first acknowledged by India when it updated its ‘Toolkits for Urban Development: Comprehensive Mobility Plans’, in line with the United Nations Environment Programme in 2013.

In 2017, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs unveiled the much-anticipated ‘Urban Green Mobility Scheme’. The plan came close on the heels of the launch of Smart Cities Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

The Urban Green Mobility Scheme primarily focuses on two areas:

  1. 1. Sustainable Urban Mobility, which entails:

  • Development of infrastructure-enabling bus systems, on lines of the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS).

  • Promoting non-motorised transport through 8,000 km of pedestrian walkways and cycling tracks.

  • Promoting bike-sharing through 73,000 public cycles.

  • Better urban freight management

  • Integrating physical and soft infrastructure, paving the way to set up systems like ITS (intelligent transport system) with cashless payment support.

  1. Sustainable Vehicles and Fuels, which entails:

  • The shift toward hybrid and electric vehicles for public transport.

  • Switch to non-fossil fuels or renewable resources for public transport projects.

Driving Green Mobility

The scheme has a total budget of INR 80,000 crore of which INR 48,000 crores will be provided by the National Green Urban Mobility Fund, raised by contributions from the Ministry of Urban Development and credit from international climate funds as well as multi-lateral agencies. The state governments will pitch in 30% of the total cost and urban local body will cover the remaining 10%.

To avail the benefits of the scheme, participating cities will compete against each other as per the ‘Green Mobility Challenge’. Under the proposed challenge, each city will submit its own Green Mobility plan, which will be assessed by the Centre on the basis of certain pre-identified parameters. Funds for Urban Green Mobility Scheme will be released according to the ranking achieved by different cities in this challenge.

A Step in the Right Direction

India has committed to cut its GDP’s emission intensity by 33-35% by 2030 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. If it hopes to deliver on that promise, looking for an alternative to mainstream mobility is a must. At a time when many cities in countries like France, Switzerland, and the US are mulling a complete ban on new private vehicles, we need to at least revisit our approach towards transportation, and the Urban Green Mobility Scheme is a step in that direction.