India's post-pandemic economic recovery will be driven by the transition to 'green energy', Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on February 25.
Speaking at the Asia Economic Dialogue 2022, the finance minister said commitments made by the Indian government at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, or COP26, required a lot of investment, both in monetary terms and in "people, investing in building awareness, investing political capital to tell that these transitions are going to be critical for us as we grow into the newer era post-pandemic."
"Therefore, India's approach to economic recovery is going to have green energy transition itself as one of those very big factors for which investments will have to be made and continuous monitoring so that we are able to achieve the goal," she said.
At the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to cut India's emissions to net-zero by 2070.
In her speech on Friday, Sitharaman said the strength of India's transition to green energy will depend on how the public adapts to it and its affordability.
"From next year, every time when the budget is made, that will be a big feature in which India will have to invest; which means many of your old thermal power plants will have to be gradually converted. You will have to depend less on coal, although ironically India is still rich in coal endowments which is still not adequately mined," Sitharaman said.
The transition to green energy will be one of the three pillars used to build "the roof of India at 100", Sitharaman said, with the other two pillars being physical and human capital and health and education, with an emphasis on increasing the participation of women from all areas and communities to ensure gender parity.
"These are the three elements into which I will put all my resources in," Sitharaman said.