“India is a rapidly developing economy, and it is continuously strengthening its ecology as well”
“Our forest cover has increased and wetlands are also expanding rapidly”
“I urge all environment ministers to promote a circular economy as much as possible in the states”
“I think that the role of the Environment Ministry is more as a promoter of the environment rather than as a regulator”
“Forest fire fighting mechanism in every state should be technology driven and robust”
“There should be healthy competition as well as collaboration among the states to promote environment measures”
“To hinder development in India, groups of urban naxals have been showing their strength by taking crores of rupees from different global organizations and foundations”
“When the vision of the environment ministries changes, I am sure, nature will also be benefitted”
“The universities and laboratories of our states should give top priority to innovations related to environmental protection, following the mantra of Jai Anusandhan”
“The faster the environment clearance is available, the faster the development will also take place”
“Where environment clearance used to take more than 600 days 8 years ago, it takes 75 days today”
“The PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan is also a great tool for protecting the environment”
“Both the central and the state government together have to move towards a green industrial economy”

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the National Conference of Environment Ministers in Ekta Nagar, Gujarat via video conferencing today.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister welcomed one and all to Ekta Nagar and the National Conference of Environment Ministers. The Prime Minister highlighted that the conference is being held when India is setting new goals for the next 25 years. Talking about the significance, the Prime Minister said that the holistic development of Ekta Nagar is a prime example of an environmental pilgrimage when it comes to forests, water conservation, tourism and our tribal brothers and sisters.

Giving examples of the International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and LiFE movement, the Prime Minister remarked that India is not just taking huge strides in the field of renewable energy, but also guiding other nations of the world. The Prime Minister said, “Today's new India is moving ahead with new thinking, new approach.” The Prime Minister further went on to add that India is a rapidly developing economy, and it is continuously strengthening its ecology as well. “Our forest cover has increased and wetlands are also expanding rapidly”, he added.

The Prime Minister remarked that today the world is joining India because of its track record of fulfilling its commitments. “ Lions, tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinos and leopards have increased in numbers over the years. New excitement has returned from the homecoming of Cheetah in Madhya Pradesh a few days ago”, the Prime Minister added.

Drawing everyone’s attention to the net zero target for the year 2070, the Prime Minister said that the focus of the country is on green growth and green jobs. He stressed the need to maintain equilibrium with nature. He also highlighted the role of the environment ministries of the states in achieving these goals. The Prime Minister said, “I urge all environment ministers to promote a circular economy as much as possible in the states.” Shri Modi supplemented his statement by mentioning that it will significantly strengthen the Solid Waste Management campaign and will free us from the clutches of single use plastic.

Continuing with the role of the environment ministries, the Prime Minister said that this role should not be seen in a restricted manner. He lamented the fact that for a long time the Environment Ministries got shaped more as a regulator. However, the Prime Minister said, “I think that the role of the Environment Ministry is more as a promoter of the environment rather than as a regulator.” He asked the states to own the measures like Vehicle Scrapping policy, and biofuel measures like ethanol blending and strengthen them on the ground. He asked for healthy competition as well as collaboration among the states to promote these measures.

Throwing light on the groundwater issues, the Prime Minister said that the states with abundant water are also facing water shortages nowadays. The Prime Minister remarked that the challenges and measures like chemical-free natural farming, Amrit Sarovar and water security, are not limited to the individual departments and the environment department will also have to consider these as an equally pressing challenge. “It is critical to work with a participative and integrated approach by the environment ministries. When the vision of the environment ministries changes, I am sure, nature will also be benefitted.”

While stressing that this work is not just limited to Information Department or the Education Department, the Prime Minister said that public awareness is another important aspect of protecting the environment. “As you all are well aware that in the National Education Policy that has been implemented in the country, a lot of emphasis has been laid on experienced-based learning”, Shri Modi added. The Prime Minister remarked that this campaign should be led by the Ministry of Environment. This will create awareness about biodiversity among the children and will also plant the seeds of protecting the environment. “Children who live in our coastal areas should also be taught how to protect the marine ecosystem. We have to make our children, and future generations sensitive toward the environment”, the Prime Minister added. The universities and laboratories of our states should give top priority to innovations related to environmental protection, following the mantra of Jai Anusandhan. The Prime Minister also underlined the adoption of technology in protecting the environment. “Study and research on the conditions of forests in the forests are equally important”, Shri Modi added.

Focussing on the alarming rate of forest fires in the western world, the Prime Minister remarked that India's share in global emissions may be negligible due to wildfire, but we have to stay alert at all times. The Prime Minister emphasised that the forest fire fighting mechanism in every state should be technology driven and robust. Shri Modi also stressed the training of our forest guards, should be given special emphasis when it comes to forest fire fighting.

Pointing out the complications involved in getting environmental clearance, the Prime Minister said that the development of modern infrastructure and efforts to improve the standard of living of the countrymen is hindered. The Prime Minister gave the example of Sardar Sarovar Dam which was initiated in 1961 by Pandit Nehru. He pointed out that it took decades to complete its construction due to the conspiracies carried out in the name of the environment. The Prime Minister also identified the role of urban naxals in hindering the development of India by taking crores of rupees from different global organizations and foundations. The Prime Minister also pointed out the conspiracies of such people due to which the World Bank had refused to give a loan to increase the height of the dam. “It took some time to thwart these conspiracies, but the people of Gujarat came out victorious. The dam was being described as a threat to the environment, and today the same dam has become synonymous with protecting the environment”, the Prime Minister added. The Prime Minister also urged everyone to stay alert from such groups of urban naxals in their respective states. The Prime Minister reiterated that more than 6000 proposals for environmental clearance and 6500 applications for forest clearance are lying with the states. “Efforts should be made by the states to clear every proper proposal soon. You can guess that due to this pendency, projects worth thousands of crores of rupees will be stuck.”, he added. The Prime Minister also emphasised the need to bring about a change in the work environment so that the pendency goes down and clearance is expedited. The Prime Minister further added that in giving environmental clearance, we also take care of the rules and give priority to the development of the people of that area. “It is a win-win situation for both the economy and ecology”, he said. “It should be our endeavour that by raising the name of the environment unnecessarily, no obstacle should be allowed to be created in the quest of Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business. We have to remember that the faster the environment clearance is available, the faster the development will also take place.”

The Prime Minister gave the example of the Pragati Maidan Tunnel in Delhi that was dedicated to the nation a few weeks ago. “Due to this tunnel, the trouble of the people of Delhi getting stuck in the jam has reduced. Pragati Maidan Tunnel will also help in saving more than 55 lakh litres of fuel every year”, he added. This will reduce carbon emissions by about 13 thousand tonnes every year which is equivalent to more than 6 lakh trees, according to experts. “Be it flyovers, roads, expressways, or railway projects, their construction helps in reducing carbon emissions equally. At the time of clearance, we should not ignore this angle” Shri Modi said.

The Prime Minister emphasised the use of the Parivartan Portal, a single-window mode for all types of clearances related to the environment while stressing its transparency and efficacy in reducing the rush for getting approvals. “Where environment clearance used to take more than 600 days 8 years ago, it takes 75 days today”, the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the coordination in infrastructure projects has escalated while many projects have gained momentum since the implementation of PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan. The PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan is also a great tool for protecting the environment. He also stressed the need for disaster-resilient infrastructure. Shri Modi said that we have to make good use of every emerging sector of the economy while facing the challenges related to climate change. “Both the central and the state government together have to move towards a green industrial economy”, the Prime Minister added.

In concluding his address the Prime Minister said that the Ministry of Environment is not just a regulatory body but also a great medium for economic empowerment of the people and creating new means of employment. “You will find a lot to learn, see and do in Ekta Nagar. Sardar Sarovar Dam, which gives Amrit to crores of people of Gujarat, is present here itself,” he added, “Such a huge statue of Sardar Saheb inspires us to stick to the pledge of unity.”

Pointing out the learning opportunities in Kevadiya, Ekta Nagar, the Prime Minister remarked that solutions to issues like the simultaneous development of ecology and economy, strengthening of the environment and creation of new employment opportunities, bio-diversity being a medium to increase eco-tourism, and how the wealth of the forest goes up with the wealth of our tribal brothers and sisters can be addressed here.

Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendra Patel and Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Bhupendra Yadav were those present on the occasion.

Background

Taking forward the spirit of cooperative federalism, Conference is being convened to create further synergy amongst the Central and State Governments in formulating better policies on issues such as Elimination of Plastic Pollution through a multi-pronged approach, State Action Plans to combat Climate Change with a focus on LiFE effectively- Lifestyle for Environment. It will also focus on increasing the forest cover with particular emphasis on restoration of degraded land and wildlife conservation.

The two day Conference being organised on the 23rd and 24th of September will have six thematic sessions with topics focusing on LiFE, Combating Climate Change (Updating State Action Plans on Climate Change for Mitigation of Emissions and Adaptation to Climate Impacts); PARIVESH (Single Window System for Integrated Green Clearances); Forestry Management; Prevention and Control of Pollution; Wildlife Management; Plastics and Waste Management.

Click here to read full text speech

Explore More
No ifs and buts in anybody's mind about India’s capabilities: PM Modi on 77th Independence Day at Red Fort

Popular Speeches

No ifs and buts in anybody's mind about India’s capabilities: PM Modi on 77th Independence Day at Red Fort
Kapil Dev Backs Indian Team, Lauds Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gesture After World Cup Final Loss

Media Coverage

Kapil Dev Backs Indian Team, Lauds Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gesture After World Cup Final Loss
NM on the go

Nm on the go

Always be the first to hear from the PM. Get the App Now!
...
Narendra Modi: The Go-To Man in Times of Crises
November 29, 2023

“I salute the determination of all those involved in this rescue campaign. Their courage and resolve have given a new life to our fellow workers. Everyone involved in this mission has set a remarkable example of humanity and teamwork,” PM Modi said in a telephonic conversation with the rescued workers who were successfully pulled out of a collapsed tunnel in Uttarakhand.

41 workers had been trapped in the Silkyara tunnel for the past 17 days. The rescue operation, involving both advanced machinery and ingenious manual skill, lasted over 400 hours. The remarkable resilience displayed by the trapped workers, the dedicated rescue team, and the overarching administrative efforts collectively exemplify an impressive showcase of grit and perseverance.

This massive operation led by the central and state rescue teams is another example of Modi government’s deep commitment to the principles of federalism. It is also a masterclass in effective and timely mobilisation of resources to address the needs of citizens facing distressing situations.

Operation Ganga: Safely Evacuating Over 20,000 Indian Students from Ukraine
However, this is not something that we are seeing for the first time. Operation Ganga, a monumental effort to evacuate over 22,000 Indian students from Ukraine amidst a war, stands as a remarkable achievement. The mission entailed pooling of substantial resources, the provision of humanitarian assistance and the creation of a safe passage for students to return home. Prime Minister Modi was involved in every intricate detail of the operation—right from logistics to the diplomatic reach-out. In addition, to personally coordinate the entire rescue mission, four Union Ministers were dispatched to four neighbouring countries to Ukraine. On the home front, efforts were made to assuage the concerns of every parent, ensuring they were reassured about the swift and secure return of their children.

This is the Modi government’s ‘whole-of-government’ approach, where swift coordination between diverse ministries, government departments and public agencies leads to coherent action giving exceptional results.

The Machchhu Dam Disaster of 1979
However, the groundwork for Prime Minister Modi's mass mobilization approach was established during the early years of his public service. A striking and pioneering instance of this approach emerged during the Machchhu dam failure, commonly known as the Morbi disaster. It came to known as history’s biggest dam-related disaster unleashing a flood of water through the city of Morbi in 1979, leading to over 25,000 casualties and earning the unfortunate distinction of being the worst dam burst according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

At that time, Narendra Modi, an RSS Karyakarta in Gujarat, undertook extraordinary efforts to assist those affected on the ground. He leveraged the organisational strength of the RSS by mobilising the karyakartas in the time of crisis. He did not stop there. In the demoralizing aftermath, Narendra Modi, in his inimitable style, penned an inspirational letter to motivate the youth in Morbi to rebuild their lives.

The monumental relief efforts in Morbi spanned over a span of over two months, during which Narendra Modi who was an RSS Sangathak in Gujarat, demonstrated exemplary leadership, by personally taking charge and remaining at the forefront until the last bus taking volunteers home departed. Along with RSS volunteers, he assessed the situation and created a detailed plan through which teams were assigned specific tasks to address the different problems arising from the tragedy. Governments can take time before they can choose a course of action. But the 29-year-old worker Narendra Modi, pursued a singular course of action - reaching the people and find ways to alleviate their suffering.

2001 Gujarat Earthquake

Another compelling instance of Narendra Modi's commitment to mobilizing every available resource for swift and effective resolution, is the handling of the devastating 2001 earthquake that shook the state of Gujarat. Even before assuming role as Gujarat’s Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, then a BJP karyakarta, immediately rushed to ground zero to aid the affected.

During the aftermath of the massive earthquake in Bhuj, where Narendra Modi had no official role in the Gujarat government or the party hierarchy, he leveraged his personal network in the Sangh and mobilised the BJP's cadre to provide assistance to the earthquake victims. Witnessed by all, he rode pillion on a motorcycle to assess the damage and come up with potential remediation measures. Collaborating with non-profit organizations, organizing relief camps, distributing food, and coordinating support collection nationwide and internationally, Narendra Modi displayed how far he can go to assist those in need, irrespective of any formal power or position.

Upon assuming the role of Chief Minister shortly after, Modi chose to spend Diwali in 2001 in Bhuj, in solidarity with the earthquake victims. Shortly afterward, CM Modi displayed sensitive leadership when he organized a mass worship offering to Mother Earth, alleviating fears caused by the earthquake.

When faced with the monumental task of rehabilitation, Chief Minister Narendra Modi left no stone unturned in mobilizing the state’s government machinery. In the face of officials estimating a rehabilitation period of at least three years, Narendra Modi, not aloof of ground realities in Gujarat and conscious of the urgency for those who had become homeless and destitute, issued a straightforward directive: Kutch should stand on its feet again in three months. As the first anniversary of the earthquake of 26 January 2002 approached, Kutch not only stood on its feet but also started regaining momentum.

The Uttarakashi Tunnel Rescue materialized into reality only through decisive leadership at the helm which demonstrated a profound concern for those at the grassroots level. India stood to benefit from the hands-on experiences of the Prime Minister, who has witnessed and managed several many disasters and crisis as a RSS swayamsevak, a BJP karyakarta, and later as the head of the state in Gujarat and India.

Today, we see that this personal abilitiy of PM Modi has transformed into institutional power. This ‘whole-of-government’ approach has transformed the governance paradigm in India, and today one can proudly say that it was an all of government, all of India operation.