India needs to raise its pool of dedicated climate management professionals in order to quickly realise targets associated with several UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) such as climate action, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, etc.
Such a step could also majorly contribute to furthering the Aatmanirbhar Bharat agenda by strengthening each of the pillars (Economy, Infrastructure, Technology-driven System, Vibrant Demography, and Demand) that are to form the basis for the creation of a self-reliant India. Moreover, a move in this direction could pay dividends in terms of providing momentum to other signature initiatives of the Government like ‘Make in India’, ‘Startup India’, etc.
Additionally, having a significant number of legal, finance, policy, and communications professionals, apart from engineers, well-versed with the climate issue could help India present its climate case better at global forums and have its voice heard more forcefully during bilateral and multilateral discussions on the subject.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change could take the lead in this manpower development initiative by collaborating with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the Bar Council of India, etc. Key industry bodies that include Ficci, CII, and Assocham should also be involved in this endeavour along with the state governments.
Apart from the specialised institutions that work in the climate arena and independent experts on the climate issue, Civil society organisations, particularly think tanks that deal with climate should be roped in for this initiative,
As a starting point, authorities may consider forming a high-powered committee comprising all the relevant ministries of the Government of India, representatives from the Niti Aayog, and titans of the corporate world such as Mr Ratan Tata and Mr Mukesh Ambani to lay down the road map for raising the number of white-collar climate professionals in India. With the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders clearly defined in this process to fix accountabilities.
State governments may form their own committees to address the issue of climate professionals in their respective regions. These state-level committees could work closely with the panel at the Central level to achieve the desired results.
With almost 17% of the world’s total population and one of the biggest economies globally, India should ideally be among the select group of nations setting the agenda on what the world should be doing on the subject of climate and ensuring that any work on this front adequately safeguards the interests of developing countries.
It would be unfortunate if the absence of enough specialised climate professionals in India led to the nation being unable to shield itself against vested interests that want to use the climate issue as a tool to curtail this country’s growth potential and prevent it from taking its due place on the world stage. We should never allow the climate to be used as a stick for pulling India down.
(The author is Advisor at the Gurgaon-based advisory on communications and stakeholder advocacy R M Consulting. Views expressed are personal. Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Outlook Magazine.)