The Indian government is developing Green Credits to mobilise a large-scale movement around environmentally responsible behaviour and actualize the vision of "Mission LiFE" through pro-planet individuals and organisations to attain India's net zero objective of 2070. The Green Credits Programme is created to encourage people, private companies, small businesses, cooperatives, forestry enterprises, and farmer-produce groups to take voluntary environmental action. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has also notified the draft ‘Green Credit Programme (GCP)’ implementation rules 2023.

The scheme, which is expected to be introduced at the national level, will aid in developing a competitive market-based approach for Green Credits and encourage diverse stakeholders to adopt voluntary environmental activities. According to the notification, the Green Credit Programme will encourage private sector industries and industries as well as other entities to meet their existing obligations, arising from other legal frameworks, by taking actions that are capable of converging with activities relevant for generating or purchasing Green Credits. This is in addition to encouraging individual/community behaviour.

"India has truly strengthened its global leadership towards environmental sustainability through a pioneering and unique regulatory step to introduce the Green Credit Programme, which is far beyond just carbon but encompasses all major attributes of environment and social sustainability. One of the major highlights of the draft notification is to provide regulatory provisions to account for individual and community actions, besides corporate and businesses, and incentivize them,” said Manish Dabkara, Chairman and MD of the BSE listed EKI Energy Services ltd, which is a market leader in Carbon Trading.

The government has identified priority sectors for the Green Credit Program's implementation, including increasing the amount of green cover nationwide through tree planting, promoting water conservation, water harvesting, and water use efficiency/savings, including wastewater treatment and reuse, encouraging natural and regenerative agricultural practises, and encouraging land restoration to boost productivity, soil health, and the nutritional value of food produced.

Dabkara sees it as one of the additional benefits of the Green Credit Programme since these Green Credits will go beyond the discussion around carbon credits right now.“It provisions to provide incentives for sustainable agriculture, forestry, water conservation, air pollution reduction, waste management, sustainable building and infrastructure and eco-labelling activities,” he added.

Additionally, the notification released by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change notes that because the environmental activity producing Green Credits under the Green Credit Programme may have climate co-benefits like a reduction in or elimination of carbon emissions, it may also receive Carbon Credits from the same activity under the carbon market.

For the purpose of creating and issuing Green Credits, thresholds and benchmarks will be defined for each Green Credit activity. The environmental result that can be achieved by any Green Credit activity will be based on equivalence of resource requirements, parity of scale, scope, size, and other relevant parameters, and will be considered for allocation of one unit of Green Credit in respect of each activity, in order to maintain flexibility across sectors. Even digital processes, such as self-evaluations of Green Credit activities,  registration of activities, the issuing of Green Credits, performance monitoring, and other pertinent processes, will be designed and implemented for the Programme.

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