Pune Public Policy Festival Wrap Up; Union Minister Puri criticizes previous governments for neglecting urbanization and energy policy |
The inaugural Pune Public Policy Festival (PPPF) concluded on Saturday at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.
23 speakers participated in the event including eminent personalities like Shamika Ravi, Member of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Ajit Ranade, Vice Chancellor Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Shekhar Singh, Pimpri – Municipal Commissioner Chinchwad , Ashwini Bhide, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Siddharth Shirole, Shivajinagar MLA, and others who enlightened the audience on various political issues.
In his keynote address, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri pointed out that previous governments had neglected urbanization and energy requirements. He highlighted the shift in focus from rural development to urban policies, given the increasing migration to urban areas for employment opportunities.
When people started migrating to urban areas from semi-urban pockets for job opportunities, the economic calculation started going wrong as the previous governments had no urban policy, a media release said, quoting the minister.
“The central government’s cumulative expenditure on urban space was about Rs 1,57,000 crore between 2004 and 2014. After 2014, we realized the challenges of urbanization and saw the opportunity in it,” he said.
The current government has increased its city spending by 11 times, Puri said.
“Today we spend about Rs 18 crore for this purpose. This expenditure was necessary because 65 percent of India’s GDP (gross domestic product) comes from the urban population.
Growth against the environment
“Now we have a trade-off. Simply put, can we choose between growth or environmental awareness? The answer is that we have to do both. That’s why the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has declared the entire year as the Year of Global Housing Technology Challenges,” he said.
Puri said that 87 percent of India’s current fuel needs are met through imports, and the country’s fuel demand growth rate is three times higher than the global average.
“To solve this situation, we are addressing the trilemma of availability, affordability and sustainability… We have a 3.5 million square kilometer sedimentary basin. We have opened up 1 million sedimentary basins that were no-go areas. We have opened it up to exploration,” he said. .
The country has gone from production sharing to revenue sharing agreements with oil exploration companies, he said, explaining efforts to address India’s growing energy needs.
“We have also gone to the extent of encouraging finance for research,” he added.
After the event, Puri opened the first pilot project to make aviation turbine fuel from alcohol. Sustainable biofuel (SAF) will be produced in this project at Pirangut near Pune. After the inauguration, Shri Puri along with other officials inspected the project and expressed satisfaction over the use of state-of-the-art technology in it.
Last year, a flight from Pune to Delhi ended its journey using jet fuel made from alcohol. Puri received the plane at the Delhi airport.