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India announces Union Budget 2013-14

Date
01 March 2013
India announces Union Budget 2013-14

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister P Chidambaram has announced India’s Union Budget 2013-14. While there is limited indication of the government’s approach to tackle climate change, the Budget features a handful of clean energy highlights.

Despite reiterating that clean energy is a priority for the government, Minister Chidambaram revealed little of how India plans to accelerate low carbon development in his Union Budget speech, bar a small number of programs relating to the clean energy sector.

These announcements include:

  • Boosting manufacturing and retail of environment-friendly vehicles. The Budget proposed to continue and extend the currently available concessions on parts of electric and hybrid vehicles until March 31, 2015.
  • Encouraging growth in the wind energy sector. The Budget allocated US$145.7 million to an incentive scheme for wind power generation.
  • Cities’ waste to energy projects are to be supported and incentivized.
  • US$442.5 million will be allocated to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forestry

There was no mention of funds specific to the solar industry, and although most states now have action plans in place on funding for tackling climate change, there was also no mention included in the Budget.

Another important omission from the Budget was on the future of the National Clean Energy Fund, which was launched in 2010 to support innovative clean technology research. At the time, the Indian Government enforced a tax of US$0.91 on a ton of coal and since then around US$546.45 million is collected every year – but there is little information on where exactly this money is being spent.

Aditi Dass, Director of Technology Programs India, The Climate Group, said: "Government has been taking gradual steps towards low carbon growth up until now. However, in this Budget the focus has been on narrowing fiscal deficit. So even though it does not foster huge encouragement for the clean energy space, the Budget does not indicate any negative proposals either. In a way this quietly reaffirms government’s commitment towards slowly making India's clean revolution story a reality."

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By Clare Saxon

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