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The Interim Budget 2024 was announced on 1 February 2024 by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. A key highlight of the Budget speech was the emphasis on measures required to build sustainability and a blue economy, with focus on green initiatives and the need for being environmental-friendly. At its core, the sustainability budget 2024 discussed measures and allocation for building a climate conscious blue economy 2.0, incentives for electric vehicles and bio-fuel, renewable energy through solar rooftops, and more. These along with its initiatives for infrastructure development, logistics and transportation enhancement, tax reforms and fiscal policies, lays down the roadmap for building a nation steering towards equitable growth.

Also read: Interim Budget 2024 – Highlights of tax reforms and compliance

Sustainability, EVs, green and blue economy – Key highlights in Interim Budget

The Union’s Interim Budget prioritises certain sectors and sections and talks about measures that will be taken to support these aspirations. The allocation of funds as such is carefully crafted and broadly highlights sustainability initiatives, shift to green manufacturing, building a blue economy to adapt to climate change, and usage of eco-friendly materials.

Some of the areas of sustainability and environmental concerns that the green energy Interim Budget 2024 highlights includes:

  • Solar rooftop scheme for free electricity
  • Green energy and renewable energy
  • EV assistance and infrastructure development
  • Bio-manufacturing for a better tomorrow
  • Blue economy 2.0 and what to look forward to
  • Sustainable tourism

In the next section, we take a look at the sustainable development initiatives and incentives for sustainable raw material use.

Rooftop solarisation and free electricity scheme

Among the initiatives and schemes introduced for sustainability and building a green economy, the first is the scheme for promoting sustainability through renewable energy. The focus of renewable energy in budget 2024 is on the installation of rooftop solar panels for ‘muft bijli’ (free electricity).

Overall benefits of the solar rooftop scheme:

  • Through the rooftop solarisation initiative, the aim is to provide 300 units of free electricity every month to 1 crore households.
  • This would enable households to save ₹15,000 – ₹18,000 annually from solar electricity.
  • The surplus can also be sold to distribution companies.
  • Additionally, solar energy can also be used to charge electric vehicles.

Entrepreneurship & employment generation for the youth:

In terms of employment generation, it would also provide entrepreneurial opportunities to vendors for installation and supply. Additionally, individuals (youth) with the technical knowledge and skills in manufacturing, installation and maintenance can also leverage from this opportunity.

Thus, budget 2024 green growth scheme is not only in alignment with the government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions but also provide better living conditions, economic opportunities, and make sustainable energy affordable and accessible to all. Moreover, it also aligns with the government’s goal to empower the youth of the nation and create employment across rural and urban sectors.

Green energy and a new wave of sustainability

In continuation of green manufacturing and sustainability initiatives, there was heightened focus on green energy in Interim Budget 2024.

Green energy refers to power generated from renewable sources (e.g., sunlight, wind, rain etc.). These sources are environmental-friendly emitting little to no greenhouse gasses, reducing the impact on the planet and promoting sustainability.

Apart from the emphasis on the solar rooftop scheme for free electricity, the Interim Budget of 2024 also mentions the commitment for ‘net zero’ by 2070 by following some measures.

Measures for ‘net zero’ goal by 2070 (green energy budget):

  • Funding will be provided for harnessing offshore wind energy for an initial capacity of 1 GW.
  • 100 MT capacity will be set up for coal gasification and liquefaction. This will be achieved by 2030. This will also help to reduce imports especially natural gas, methanol, and ammonia.
  • A mandate will be set for a phased blending of compressed bio-gas (CBG) in compressed natural gas (CNG) for transport and piped natural gas for domestic purpose.
  • To support collection, financial assistance will be provided to buy machinery/equipment for biomass aggregation.

As can be seen, these are forward-thinking measures on renewable energy and will go a long way in achieving the nation’s goals towards sustainability by using eco-friendly materials.

Electric vehicles and infrastructure development

Electric vehicles or EVs have been gaining traction in India, owing to the several initiatives taken by the government in the past towards building a green environment. Though EVs came to India in the early 2010s, today the country can boast of lakhs of EVs in use and numerous charging stations to support the cause of sustainable transportation.

Among the other incentives and schemes in the Interim Budget for logistics and transportation sector, the provision for building an ecosystem for electric vehicles was also highlighted.

Building an e-Vehicle ecosystem:

  • Support will be provided for building a robust manufacturing and charging infrastructure
  • There will be higher adoption of e-buses for public transportation with secured payments facilities

As per insights from a report by Bain & Company, it is estimated that India’s EV market will scale significantly by 2030 and generate approximately USD 100 billion in revenue. This will also raise market penetration from 5% to 45% during the mentioned timelines.

As can be seen, the infrastructure development support mentioned in the Interim Budget, is on similar lines. Moreover, capital expenditure has been allotted to a sum of ₹11.11 lakh crores, a 11.1% increase from the previous year.

Considering the initiatives in infrastructure development and automotives, it’s a smart move for SMEs to forecast and plan their procurement activities. At Tata nexarc we have partnered with verified steel suppliers and enable you to buy quality steel at competitive prices. You can get instant prices, avail credit options, and get timely doorstep delivery. To learn more, contact us today.

Bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry

There can be little debate on the contributions on the MSME and the manufacturing sector in India towards the country’s GDP.

The Union’s Interim Budget highlighted some key aspects of bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry in alignment with its incentives for sustainable raw material usage.

Promoting green growth and manufacturing:

  • Announcement for the launch of a new scheme for bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry to promote green growth.
  • This will be the environmental-friendly alternative to biodegradable polymers, bio-plastics, etc.
  • This will also enable to adopt a culture based on regenerative principles instead of consumptive manufacturing

Blue Economy 2.0 and what to look forward to

The sustainability budget interim of 2024 has focused on the renewal of green energy and the importance of blue economy.

Though the Interim Budget has made provisions for ‘Matsya Sampada’ or Department of Fisheries for growing inland and aquaculture production, there’s more the government plans for with respect to mariculture and coastal aquaculture activities.

The Blue Economy 2.0 scheme is the answer to promote climate resilient activities for restoration and adaptation measure. There will be plans launched with integrated and multi-sectoral approach.

Understanding blue economy and India’s approach to climate change:

The term refers to the sustainable use of ocean, sea and coastal resources for economic growth, employment and improved livelihoods, while preserving the oceanic ecosystem. It can include activities such as fisheries, aquaculture, maritime transport, and tourism.

This is important in the Indian sub-context, considering India’s long coastal lines supporting millions of livelihoods through tourism, fishery and more. And is an integral part of India’s budget for climate change.

The Interim Budget also mentions that the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (scheme) will be implemented to:

  • Increase aquaculture productivity from 3 to 5 tonnes per hectare
  • Double exports to ₹1 lakh crores
  • Generate 55 lakh new employment opportunities

As such, with a well-conceptualised scheme for Blue Economy and present needs, it can be expected that there will be conscious measures taken to carry out oceanic activities in harmony and keep the sea and marine life safe and protected.

Sustainability in domestic tourism

In continuation with its overall theme of sustainability, eco-friendly material use, and green manufacturing, the Interim Budget also recognised the emerging interest in domestic tourism and emphasised the need for:

  • Port connectivity
  • Tourism infrastructure
  • Amenities in islands (including Lakshadweep)

Naturally, this will require all to align with the goals and objectives of the blue economy initiatives to act in harmony with the maritime ecosystem for sustenance.

Closing thoughts: Sustainability and what it means for the MSME sector

Sustainability is not a new concept in India. For years, large and small scale businesses have been implementing sustainable practices for environmental reasons. The Interim Budget has been designed such that it is inclusive, diverse, and promises stability. From supporting the EV ecosystem development to offering free electricity to 1 crore households through solar rooftops, these are all steps towards achieving the higher ‘net zero’ goals by 2070.

The MSME sector too promotes sustainability by adopting practices that ensure economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental balance. It involves integrating eco-friendly processes, reducing wastage, and using resources consciously for long term viability and positive impact on the planet.

As a MSME these measures can prove beneficial to your business. You can:

  • Get special discounts, offers, incentives, exemptions on starting a new business or growing an existing one on these lines
  • Get rebates and other exemptions on going green and using renewable energy in your factories/manufacturing units
  • Create new employment opportunities for women employees and the youth
  • Get special financial assistance in alignment with the new policies on sustainability

 

(For more information, visit the government website to learn about the Union Interim Budget 2024)