Energy focus: Finance Minister talks renewables, electric vehicles in BudgetRoshni Balaji
Emphasising the government’s pledge to promote renewable energy, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal re-affirms the use of electric vehicles and new-age energy solutions in the budget.
Energy – that was one of the key areas that Finance Minister Piyush Goyal spoke on in the Interim Budget 2019 presented on Feb 1. As fossil fuels deplete and the country faces a massive import bill when it comes to petroleum products, the minister, in his budget speech, spoke on the importance of renewable energy and assured of his commitment to it.
While he did speak about measures such as the Ujjwala Yojana, which took gas connections to marginal households and villages since it was introduced in 2016 and rural electrification and universal household electrification, the emphasis was clearly on renewable energy.
“India will lead the world in the transport revolution through electric vehicles and energy storage devices, bringing down import dependence and ensuring energy security for our people,” said Goyal, stressing the importance of alternate schemes, and the government’s commitment to soon put in place policies to promote electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles.
The Budget also touched upon the country’s contribution in the global effort to address the problem of climate change. “Our commitment to promote renewable energy is reflected in setting up the International Solar Alliance, the first treaty based international inter-governmental organisation headquartered in India.”
The minister also informed the house that India’s installed solar generation capacity had grown over ten times in the last five years. “This sector is now creating lakhs of new age jobs,” he added.
In the Budget a year ago
In the Union Budget for 2018-19, the government had encouraged states to put in place a mechanism to ensure that the surplus solar power is bought at reasonable rates. It also removed the customs duty on solar tempered glass for manufacture of solar cells as against 5 percent earlier. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) was allocated Rs 217 crore in the budget last year, while the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) was given an allocation of Rs 9,900 crore under internal and extra budgetary resources. The customs duty on Lithium-ion batteries was raised from 10 to 20 percent.