Q) With the increasing global warming, it becomes necessary for countries to adhere to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. In this context, critically evaluate India’s progress on NDCs.

Why this Question:

Important part of GS paper- III. 

Key Demand of the question.

What India’s NDCs are, its progress in that and the challenges ahead. 


Critically evaluate - Give your verdict as to what extent a statement or findings within a piece of research are true, or to what extent you agree with them. Provide evidence taken from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict an argument. Come to a final conclusion, basing your decision on what you judge to be the most important factors and justify how you have made your choice.


Give a brief overview of what NDCs are and what India has committed to. 


In the first part, categorically highlight the achievements that India has made in the NDCs.

In the next part, mention the areas in which India needs to improve on the front of climate change.


Conclude with a way forward. 

Model Answer


NDCs or the Nationally Determined Contributions are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Each NDC reflects the country’s ambition, taking into account its domestic circumstances and capabilities. The recent Economic Survey has analysed the progress and challenges of India's NDCs towards the Paris Agreement 2015.

India’s NDCs

  • To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level. 
  • To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. 
  • To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

India’s Achievements towards NDCs

  1. India’s non-fossil fuel electricity capacity, which includes renewables, large hydro, and nuclear, was 38 percent of its total installed electricity mix, as of September 2019 which is just 2 percent below its 2030 target.
  2. India’s emission intensity has reduced by 21% over the period 2005-2014. By 2030, India’s emission intensity is projected to be even lower. This is in the range of 35 to 50 percent.
  3. India is receding further from its 3rd target (an additional ‘carbon sink’ of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent by greening India’s forests) rather than improving.
  4. The Climate Action Tracker website has rated India’s climate efforts as “2-degree compatible” i.e. it can contribute to limiting warming by the end of the century to 2° Celsius; making India the only major economy to be so highly rated.
  5. The Emissions Gap Report 2020 by the UNEP includes India among nine G20 members who are on track to achieve their unconditional commitments under the Paris Agreement. 

Forthcoming Challenges in Achieving NDCs

  1. Climate change targets are intertwined with socio economic progress. The imperatives of intra-generational equity, i.e., eradication of poverty and equitable social and economic development cannot be brushed aside.
  2. Being a country highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, adaptation to climate change must be the first priority. Hence, India should focus on developing adaptive mechanisms. 
  3. Availability of adequate financial resources required to implement wide-ranging NDC targets.
  4. Additional investments will be needed for strengthening resilience and disaster management.

Way forward 

  1. Implementation of the promised  support by the developed countries to the developing countries to implement NDCs. 
  2. Integrated approach at the domestic and international level to get the essential resources. 
  3. Focus on technological innovations for development of climate change adaptation mechanisms. 
  4. Climate budget tagging can be introduced. 

NDCs if achieved by every country can have a huge impact on overcoming climate change and its impact. Hence, adequate efforts must be taken to implement them both in the developed and the developing countries of the world.