The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which provides for the establishment of carbon credit markets and brings large residential buildings under the energy conservation regime.
The Bill mandates the use of non-fossil sources, including green hydrogen, green ammonia, biomass and ethanol, for energy and feedstock, according to the statement of objects and reasons. The Bill amended the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, to establish carbon markets, enhance the scope of the Energy Conservation Building Code, amend penalty provisions and increase number of members in the governing council of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
While replying to the discussion on the Bill, Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R.K. Singh clarified that the carbon credit would not be exported and would have to be used domestically. He said till India met the commitments made at COP21 and COP26, it would not allow export of credits. Responding to concerns of some MPs, Mr. Singh said India had not missed targets for reduction of emissions and increase in share of non-fossil energy sources. “We are ahead of the target,” he said.
Speaking on the Bill, Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said States, and not just Central agencies, should also be allowed to issue certificates of carbon credit in the “spirit of federalism”. He said he was not against the Bill, but expressed concerns that the carbon markets would lead to a “revolving door” between the government, businesses and NGOs. “The government had failed to strengthen its capacity to produce domestic solar panels,” he said, adding that cheaper panels from China were flooding the market.
Nationalist Congress Party member Supriya Sule supported the Bill, but asked what the government’s policy regarding coal versus renewable sources was, given that the Coal Ministry had informed Parliament of increased mining and generation.
National Conference member Hasnain Masoodi said while he supported the Bill, it was “depressing that the government has not taken adequate steps to encourage use of renewable energy”. He said carbon trading should work along with a regulatory framework to cap emissions.
Bill to change name of arbitration centre
After the Bill was passed by voice vote, the Lok Sabha took up and passed the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which changed the name of the arbitration centre to the India International Arbitration Centre.
Ms. Sule said the Bill was “colossal waste of time” as it just changed the name of the centre.
In his response, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said the change of name was necessary to prevent confusion as there was a Delhi centre for arbitration where the Delhi High Court referred arbitration matters.
Replying to concerns raised by members that Indian companies preferred to seek arbitration in Singapore or London, Mr. Rijiju said that after the Bill was passed, the Union government would include a clause in all its “big contracts” that any dispute would be sent to the arbitration centre in question.
After several memebrs raised concerns over the number of cases pending in the judiciary, Mr. Rijiju said the number was reaching five crore and that the government, Parliament and the judiciary should be concerned.