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India's Budget 2015-16: What's in it for the low carbon economy?

Here is a first reading from a clean-energy perspective to India´s budget for 2015-2016.

India's Union Budgets for the financial year 2015-16 was presented in the parliament in late February. Some highlights from our perspective:

First, while presenting the General Budget 2015-16 in Parliament Feb 28, the Finance Minister stated that our de-facto ‘Carbon Tax’ on most petroleum products compares favourably with international norms. He said, with regard to coal, there is a need to find a balance between taxing pollution and the price of power.

The Government has proposed to double the clean energy chess on coal to Rs. 200/- per tonne. It was Rs. 50/- per tonne during the previous regime, increased to Rs. 100/- per tonne in the last budget - the first budget of this government and now is Rs. 200/- per tonne.

Second, he announced the launch of a scheme for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles with a budgetary allocation of Rs. 750 Million (approximately US$ 12.5 Million) for the scheme in 2015-16.

Third, formally included in the budget, the revised targets for additional renewable energy generation installed capacity are 1,75,000 MW till 2022, comprising 1,00,000 MW Solar, 60,000 MW Wind, 10,000 MW Biomass and 5,000 MW Small Hydro.

Fourth, the Finance Minister also announced a budgetary allocation of Rs. 53 Billion (US$ 0.88 Billion) for Micro Irrigation Scheme. While the details of what this exactly entails has not been stated very clearly in the budget, we are given to understand from some sources that the focus of the micro irrigation schemes will be on solar irrigation pump sets.

Fifth, there is a budgetary allocation for providing 24 x 7 electricity for all households by 2020. The earlier announcement was electricity for all households by 2019, and now it is 24 x 7 electricity for all households by 2020.

Last, but not least, five ultra mega power plants of 4000 MW announced.

We will continue to report on clean energy developments in India and the national position in the context of the Paris climate agreement.

More information:

If you are interested in a more detailed look at this budget, here is the full budget speech, the budget highlights, and economic survey reports.

More information on India's recent announcement to double the tax on coal production here.

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