SG Analytics’ partner and Co-CEO, Vineet Agarwal has 20 years of hands-on experience in setting up and growing several businesses. He is passionate about enabling businesses to discover and derive efficiencies through a judicious adoption of the global sourcing model. Vineet leads SGA’s ESG business and is invested in scaling it up. An Angel Investor, he is always open to brainstorming new ideas with entrepreneurs particularly in the ESG and FinTech space.
The post-pandemic union budget for the year 2022-23 focused on addressing ESG elements ranging from infrastructure development, skill development, and environmental conservation to digitization. This year’s budget is a stepping-stone to the Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) journey of India@100 in alignment with the Conference of Parties (COP 26) goals and would enhance the existing regulations on ESG front.
From an environmental conservation perspective, the risks of climate change are the strongest negative externalities that affect India and other countries. The budget has proposed strategies in addressing transition towards a carbon neutral economy such as co-firing 5-7% of biomass pellets in thermal power plants resulting in 38 million tonnes of CO2 annually. This could potentially provide many more employment opportunities and alternative livelihood options for farmers and locals, leading the country on a sustainable development path.
This budget proposed strategies for clean and sustainable mobility by promoting a shift to usage of public transport in urban areas, complemented by clean tech solutions and electric vehicles. In view of increasing demand for electric mobility (EV), a formulation of battery swapping policy and its inter-operability will be brought out to improve efficiency in EV ecosystem.
The budget proposes promoting energy efficiency measures and transitioning to renewable sources of energy with an ambitious goal of installation of 280 GW of solar power by 2030 with an additional allocation of INR 19,500 crore for manufacturing high efficiency and fully integrated solar PV modules.
From the social development lens, the budget proposes to provide increasing employment opportunities for youth to make Indian industry more efficient and competitive. Artificial intelligence, geospatial systems and drones, semiconductor and its eco-system, space economy, genomics and pharmaceuticals, green energy, and clean mobility systems have immense potential to assist sustainable development at scale and modernize the country.
The budget proposes skill development programmes and industry partnerships to promote continuous learning avenues, sustainability, and employability. An improved digital ecosystem for skills development and livelihood will empower citizens to skill, reskill and upskill through online learning and training. This improvement in the digital learning provides Application Programming Interface (API) trusted credentials to explore relevant employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
From a governance point of view, various proposals in the budget could transform the country’s economic growth and sustainable development driven by Roads, Railways, Airports, Ports, Mass Transport, Waterways, and Logistics Infrastructure. These will advance the economy in unison, supported by complementary roles of Energy Transmission, IT Communication, Bulk Water & Sewerage, and Social Infrastructure.
The budget also proposed to digitize currency by introducing a digital currency using blockchain technology boosting the digital economy and leading to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system. This Digital Rupee will be issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) starting in 2022-23. Additionally, as a part of the country’s overall market borrowings in 2022-23, sovereign Green Bonds would be issued for green infrastructure helping in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy.
In summary, the budget focused on sustainable development powered by low carbon and clean energy strategies, circular economy, digitization, women empowerment, natural farming, green bonds, and digital currency – providing inclusive development, jobs, and entrepreneurial opportunities for all, especially the youth.