Climate change and other environmental issues have slowly started getting required attention in Government development plans. One such example is a distinct chapter in recent economic survey on sustainable development and climate change issues.
Same trend is now also observed in Union budget 2014-15. There are some interesting and well needed announcements in this budget including:
- High priority awarded to new and renewable energy by launching Ultra Mega Solar power plants in four states, 400 Cr scheme to replace old pumps with solar powered pumps, 100 Cr allocation for 1 MW solar power parks on banks of canals. Acceleration of work in Green Energy Corridor to ensure proper evacuation of renewable energy.
- Coal will still remain prime energy source for our country, however promotion of ultra-modern super coal thermal power plants will result in cleaner and efficient power generation. Such plants will reduce greenhouse gases and help India contribute towards climate change mitigation goals.
- Climate change impacts agriculture; setting up National Adaptation Fund of Rs 100 Cr is a good step to counter this. Though given the nature of this problem, higher fund allocation is required.
- Clean Energy Cess has been increased from Rs 50/tonne of coal to Rs 100. This will increase funding to National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) for clean technologies and projects. However NCEF hasn’t delivered desired results in the past because of lack of focus on implementation. I hope apart from increased funding, some structural changes in NCEF will also be made to ensure effective use of this funding.
A few points missing from this budget are:
- Plan to revive National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) or a roadmap on how the new government looks at overall climate change and development linkages and long-term vision on mitigation and adaptation
- Additional incentives to wind energy sector in form of reinstatement of accelerated depreciation
- Promotion of sustainable transport and housing
Overall it’s a good budget in which the government has provided some guidance to promote sustainable development. I expect in due course of time the government will provide a detailed roadmap to deal with sustainable development and climate change issues.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Asian Power. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Ashutosh Pandey is the Chief Executive Officer of Emergent Ventures India Pvt Ltd.