India will invest billions of dollars in public infrastructure over the next few years. Government policies also aim to massively increase private investments across sectors – manufacturing, services and agriculture. Each of these policies and investments will have time horizons spanning five to 50 years.
Examples of planned infrastructure include – 100 new airports with an investment of $60 billion, interlinking of rivers at a budget of Rs 5.5 lakh crore, a linked network of ports through Sagarmala at an outlay of Rs 4 lakh crore. At a different scale, just one project – the 29.2 km coastal road planned in one city, Mumbai – will cost Rs 10,000 crore.
All these initiatives will impact the lives and livelihoods of millions, and will compete for finite and scarce public resources. But are any of them being screened against the biggest existential threat humanity has ever faced – climate change? Unfortunately, the answer is NO.