Panchayats and Climate Change

Panchayats and Climate Change

Think local climate action, think Meenangadi

#GS-02 Governance, #GS-03 Climate Change

For Prelims

‘Panchamrit’ resolution:

Five Nectar Elements (Panchamrit):

India has presented the following five nectar elements (Panchamrit) of India’s climate action:

  1. Reach 500 GW Non-fossil energy capacity by 2030.
  2. 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.
  3. Reduction of total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now to 2030.
  4. Reduction of the carbon intensity of the economy by 45 per cent by 2030, over 2005 levels.
  5. Achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2070.


For Mains

The need to involve Panchayati raj institutions in climate change:

  • It is necessary that panchayati raj institutions, the third tier of government which are closest to the people are involved in order for India to achieve its proclaimed targets in COP 26.
  • Although international and national policies have been formulated with large-scale investments, it is necessary to have a suitable local action plan for implementation and enforcement, initiated and coordinated by local governments.
  • In the context of greater devolution that has taken place, panchayats, as local governments, can play a pivotal role in tackling many of the causes and effects of climate change.
  • Through the ongoing decentralisation process which ensures people’s participation, panchayats can play a crucial and frontline role in coordinating effective responses to climate risks, enabling adaptation and building climate-change resilient communities.

About Carbon neutral Meenangadi:

  • Meenangadi gram panchayat in Kerala’s Wayanad district envisaged a project called ‘Carbon neutral Meenangadi’ in 2016.
  • The aim of the project was to transform Meenangadi into a state of carbon neutrality.
  • An awareness programme was conducted initially.
  • A greenhouse gases emission inventory was also prepared.
  • The panchayat was found to be carbon positive.
  • An action plan was prepared by organising gram sabha meetings.
  • Socio-economic surveys and energy-use mapping were also carried out.
  • Several multi sector schemes were implemented to reduce emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and preserve the ecology and bio-diversity.
  • ‘Tree banking’ was one of landmark schemes introduced to aid carbon neutral activities which encouraged the planting of more trees by extending interest-free loans.
  • Interestingly 1,58,816 trees were planted which have also been geo-tagged to monitor their growth.
  • The entire community was involved in the process, with school students, youth, and technical and academic institutions given different assignments.

Other such examples:

  • Palli gram panchayat in Jammu and Kashmir has followed the same people-centric model, with specific local activities.
  • The panchayat has prepared a climate-resilient plan where villagers have been made aware of climate change
  • Mitigation factors such as reducing energy consumption, cutting down on the use of fossil fuels, the use of solar energy, abandoning plastics and promoting plantation and water conservation measures were given prominence.
  • Bio-gas plants and solar panels were also introduced.
  • A solar plant (500KW) has been installed to power 340 households.
  • A Gram Panchayat Development Plan for 2022-23 is being prepared by integrating a climate-resilient plan.
  • Seechewal gram panchayat, the Kali Bein river was rejuvenated with people’s involvement.
  • Odanthurai panchayat in Tamil Nadu has its own windmill (350 KW).
  • Tikekarwadi gram panchayat in Maharashtra is well known for its extensive use of biogas plants and green energy production.
  • Chapparapadavu gram panchayat in Kerala has several green islands that have been nurtured by the community.

About ‘Clean and Green Village’:

  • The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has focused its attention on localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a thematic basis.
  • ‘Clean and Green Village’ has been identified as the fifth theme where panchayats can take up activities on natural resource management, biodiversity protection, waste management and afforestation activities.
  • According to the latest data, 1,09,135 gram panchayats have prioritised ‘Clean & Green Village’ as one of their focus areas for 2022-23.