In keeping with the Indian dream of going solar and accelerating developments in the renewable energy sector, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced during the Union Budget 2018 that the government of India has proposed eliminating import duty on the components which go into the making of solar panels and other such equipment.
The decision makes sense and comes at a crucial juncture. India has to continue focusing on supporting clean technology as well as renewable sources of energy if it plans to meet its obligations in the Paris Climate Agreement on emission cuts. The step will go a long way in helping India realize its promise to install 175 GW of renewable energy in the country, of which 100 GW should come from solar power. The announcement made for reducing import duty on solar power panels is a good decision.
In the last full budget before General Elections, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed that duty on solar-tempered glass or solar tempered (which is anti-reflective coated) glass, used for the manufacture of solar cells, modules, and panels be reduced from the 5 per cent earlier to zero now.
The encouraging move on solar power panels does come as relief for the domestic solar panel manufacturers which used glass as input. This is also a piece of positive news for the solar power project developers, particularly those who seek to pass on the benefits.
Jaitley added that the government would support several farmers across the country who were installing solar water pumps in order to irrigate the fields. He said: ‘The government will take necessary measures, and encourage State Governments to put in place mechanism that their surplus solar power is purchased by distribution companies or licencees at reasonably remunerative rates.’
The step is in keeping with the momentum built during the last Budget 2017-2018, during which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had made many announcements aimed at boosting the renewable energy sector in order to improve the environment as well as the quality of life index of citizens. Rampant and hazardous pollution has been taking a huge toll of the country’s human and economic resources. Such measures will promote clean energy as well as ensure energy security in the country. No doubt that the Union Budget 2018 was the best opportunity to do that.