Boost to renewables, short shrift to forests

With increased coal energy cess, ambitious renewable energy targets, and sops for electric vehicles, the Union Budget hopes to generate investment in green energy while giving short shrift to forest and wildlife, to the dismay of environmentalists.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has revised its renewable energy target for 2022 to 1,75,000 MW, comprising 100,000 MW solar, 60,000 MW wind, 10,000 MW biomass and 5000 MW small hydro.

Of the budget of Rs.1,681 crore allocated for the Ministry of Environment, Rs.160 crore has been allocated to the Mission on Climate Change and Adaptation, with Rs.135 crore of that going to the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change. The National Mission on Himalayan studies has been allocated Rs.100 crore. There has been a big push for prevention and control of pollution, with an allocation of Rs.240.30 crore, which is way above the Rs.96.77 crore allocated last year.

Former National Board of Wildlife Standing Committee member Kishore Rithe said that 50 Tiger Reserves would get merely Rs.136.46 crore (as opposed to Rs.161 crore last year) and the budget allocation to wildlife and forest has been reduced.

During 2014-15, around Rs.545.62 crore was allocated for wildlife conservation which has been brought down to Rs.299.39 crore which is insufficient to manage wildlife in more than 650 protected areas in India, he added.

Official sources said the Centre’s contribution in some areas of the Ministry of Environment would come down since funds are devolved to the States but overall there is not much of a cut as compared to last year’s revised budget estimates of Rs.1,764.60 crore.

The government is launching a scheme for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) with an initial outlay of Rs.75 crore in 2015-16. The concessions from customs and excise duties currently available on specified parts for manufacture of electrically operated vehicles and hybrid vehicles are being extended by one more year i.e. up to March 31, 2016.

The government also proposes to electrify by 2020 the remaining 20,000 villages in the country, including by off-grid solar power generation.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 5:41:52 AM |

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