Poverty biggest challenge for environment: Modi

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New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that poverty is the biggest challenge for environment and its eradication is one of the fundamental goals of the government.

“I am sure all of us agree that poverty is the biggest challenge for environment. Therefore, eradication of poverty is one of the fundamental goals of my government. Guided by our core values, we are working towards achieving this goal with sincerity,” Modi said while addressing an International Conference on Rule of Law for Supporting the 2030 Development Agenda.

“We want to ensure a conducive environment for 1.25 billion Indians to develop and make them prosper,” he added.

The prime minister said his government was encouraging education, skill development, digital connectivity and entrepreneurship to provide an enabling ecosystem for the youth.

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“The rule of law dictates that no one can be punished for another’s misdeed. We need to recognise that there are many people who are least responsible for the problem of climate change. They are also the people who still wait for access to modern amenities. They face the adverse impact of climate change more than anyone else,” he said.

“The poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups have fewer resources to cope with climate disasters. Unfortunately, their present and future generations are also burdened by laws and agreements on environment,” said the prime minister.

Talking about climate justice, Modi said problems faced today are not unique.

“The problems we face in India today are not unique. Other civilisations have also faced similar problems and were able to overcome them. I believe that through our collective efforts we will succeed as well,” he said.

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He said fulfilling the demand for energy was vital to achieve developmental goals and that the first challenge he took as prime minister was generation of 175 gigawatt renewable energy.

“We are well on our way to achieving this objective,” he said.

Pointing out that sustainable development was the responsibility of the world at large, the prime minister said India always prayed for the welfare, peace, fulfillment and sustainability of all and at all places and for all times.

“Anything not sustainable cannot be called development,” he said.

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