The Centre increased the allocation for Environment Ministry from last fiscal by 10.4 per cent to Rs.2,954.72 crore for 2019-20 in what was termed as a “green budget” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with several initiatives for promoting electric vehicles, reducing air pollution and encouraging afforestation.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her first Budget speech, allocated Rs. 460 crore for pollution control schemes including National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) with a vision for “pollution-free India with green Mother Earth and blue skies”.
Sitharaman also proposed to introduce an income tax rebate of ₹1.5 lakh for customers of electric vehicles and voiced the Government’s intent to develop India as a manufacturing hub of EVs. The Government plans to promote startups in the electric mobility ecosystem in the next few years as it mulls a proposal for banning internal combustion driven two and three-wheelers by 2025 and 2023, respectively.
She also announced reduction in customs duty on imports of certain parts of electric vehicles. She said that Rs.10,000 crore has already been approved on April 1, 2019, to encourage faster adoption of EVs in the country under the FAME II scheme, which aims to encourage faster adoption of EVs by right incentives and charging infrastructure.
Talking about clean energy, she said the Government will use the LED bulb mission to promote the use of solar stoves and battery chargers in the country. “For good quality of life and ease of living, maintaining a cleaner environment and ensuring sustainable energy use is vital… 35 crore LED bulbs have been distributed under UJALA Yojana leading to cost saving of Rs.18,341 crore annually,” Ms Sitharaman said.
The minister also proposed to expand the Swachh Bharat Mission to undertake sustainable solid waste management in every village.
“We must not only sustain the behavioural change seen in people but also harness the latest technologies available to transform waste into energy. I now propose to expand the Swachh Bharat Mission to undertake sustainable solid waste management in every village,” she said.
The budgetary allocation for National Mission for Green India has been raised from Rs. 210 crore in last financial year to Rs. 240 crore this time with national afforestation programme alone being allotted Rs.179 crore, higher than last year’s amount of Rs.159 crore.