Magsaysay Award winner and Managing Director of Selco India Harish Hande said on Thursday that the State government should remove the 5.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on solar products.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Hande said some states such as Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh had exempted solar products from VAT. Even in Karnataka, VAT was not imposed on solar products until 2002. He had brought the matter to the notice of the State government, but had not got any response on it.

Solar products should be treated as tax-free products, which would help poor consumers, he said.

There was tax concession for IT products being used by rich consumers in the State, while it was regrettable that such a concession had not been extended to solar products, which was mostly used by poor consumers, Mr. Hande said.

Udupi-Chikmagalur MP K. Jayaprakash Hegde said he and Magsaysay awardee and Managing Director of Seleco India Harish Hande would talk to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah about exempting solar products from VAT.

Lamps and scholarships

Selco India provided solar lamps to the houses of 25 poor meritorious students in Udupi district at a function here on Thursday.

The houses of these students do not have an electricity connection. The lamps were sponsored by Canara Bank.

Three students – Ganesh K., Soujanya and Sunil – were symbolically given the solar lamps at the function.

Murali Kadekar, Coordinator of Vidyaposkaha organisation, which selected the students to receive scholarships and solar lamps, said that in the last two days, the solar lamps had already been fitted in the houses of 25 students free of cost.

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