- Environmental issues like clean air, water, waste management and clean energy have made a significant appearance in India’s 2019 elections.
- Mongabay-India analysed manifestos of several national and regional political parties and found that issues related to water and air pollution, water scarcity, clean energy, coasts and Himalayas are a prominent part of party manifestos this year.
- The manifestos also have a significant focus on the agricultural sector and on the welfare of the tribal communities and forest dwellers.
- In the run up to the elections, Mongabay-India has covered over 50 stories exploring the link between environment and elections. With the elections now in progress, stay tuned for more from around the country.
… Water is a key issue
As far as clean rivers, water bodies and piped water supply are concerned, BJP promises a clean Ganga river but is silent about the cleaning of other rivers. The Ganga cleaning also continues from the party’s 2014 manifesto when it had promised to launch a massive ‘Clean Rivers Programme’ across the country driven by people’s participation. However, the issue of cleaning of rivers is more critical this time round because between 2015 and 2018, the number of polluted river stretches in India have increased from 302 to 351. Aside from the holy river cleanup, the manifesto made a mention of strategies to map pollution in cities and rivers but no specific cleanup action rivers has been declared.
The Congress party, on the other hand, promises to double the budget allocation for cleaning rivers, including the Ganga, stop discharge of effluents into the rivers and tackle illegal sand mining on riverbanks. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) too talked about checking the pollution of rivers and other water bodies.
Cleaning of rivers is not a new promise for India’s parties. In 2014, the BJP had promised to clean the Ganga river but there has been no significant improvement in its quality so far…
Another major promise made in the manifestos was about ensuring piped water supply to all households. BJP, DMK and Trinamool Congress have promised piped water supply, with BJP adding a timeline to complete it in five years, by 2024. Congress, on the other hand, promised universal access to potable drinking water and a comprehensive water use policy.
BJP and Congress also promised to create a water ministry to oversee all major water related issues. BJP also promised to focus on conservation of rural water bodies and groundwater recharge.
Meanwhile, both Trinamool Congress and DMK vowed to eliminate groundwater contamination.
In India, 15,811 habitations are affected by arsenic and 9,660 habitations are affected by fluoride. Of those affected my arsenic, almost 85 percent are in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress’ stronghold…
*Read the full article at https://india.mongabay.com/2019/04/environment-gets-voted-into-party-manifestos/