India is committed to a "balanced approach" on its nuclear and other power programmes, which takes into account both environmental and developmental issues, union environment minister Jairam Ramesh said on World Environment Day today. India is the global host of the event.
Addressing a series of functions in New Delhi, Ramesh said, "Development that hurts the environment is no development; but at the same time there is no justification for depriving people of development in the name of environment. We need to balance environment and development. It is, however, not an easy task."
Ramesh also released a United Nations Environment Programme report on 'Forests in a green economy', which is the focus of this year's environment day.
The report from the UN Environment Programme points out that with nearly 1.6 billion people across the world dependent on forests, a balanced approach to development is imperative. It states that natural capital as represented by forests could account for up to 90 per cent of the GDP of the rural poor.
The minister said that fiscal policy was the "most important instrument" at the command of the government to ensure that development is environmentally sustainable.
In a reference to the vexed issue of India's nuclear power programme - particularly the controversial new plant coming up at Jaitapur in Maharashtra - he noted that while Germany plans to scrap its nuclear programme, in France 70 per cent of power requirements still come from nuclear generators.