India Budget 2017: reactions from green tech sector

Arun Jaitely

Finance Minister Arun Jaitely presented the Union Budget with a number of tax sops aimed at what he called the ” largely a non-tax compliant society.”

The renewable and green tech sector are likely to benefit largely from the reduction in corporate taxes for small firms, according to industry spokespersons.

Hartek Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, Hartek Group: The announcement to roll out another 20 GW of solar power this year is a decisive step that will go a long way in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and achieving the avowed objective of sustainable energy for all. The duty cuts announced for power generating systems operating on fuel cells and biogas as well as wind energy equipment will give a much-needed impetus to the clean energy sector by promoting domestic manufacturing and boosting demand.

The decision to feed about 7,000 railway stations through solar power in the medium term with work on 2,000 stations to be taken up as part of the Railways’ 1,000-MW Solar Mission will set the pace for achieving the 40-GW rooftop target by 2022.

The Finance Minister should have complemented these efforts by setting aside funds for energy storage solutions to meet the real challenge of integrating renewable energy with the grid.

With a substantial increase in outlay under the Integrated Power Development Scheme and the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, the government’s target of 100 percent rural electrification by May 2018 now looks attainable.

Andrew Hines, business development head, South India, CleanMax Solar, commented, “There are no major surprises in the budget for the solar industry. Reductions in Accelerated Depreciation and Section 80-IA benefits had been announced last year, and the budget is consistent with those announcements. “

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While removal of those incentives can be expected to increase solar tariffs across the board, we are still expecting very strong growth in the industry in FY 2017-18, and particularly in the commercial and industrial rooftop and open access segments, Hines added.

The growth will be driven by the government’s push for solarising the government rooftops and educational institutions.

Samit Choksi, co-founder of ThinkPhi, a clean technology startup, said, “The spend on infrastructure is a positive development and it can be further amplified by building green infrastructure. It will also be in line with Mr. Modi’s commitment at COP21. While Trump and the largest economy has reduced its commitment to the planet, India can take over from the US in leading the way towards building a sustainable future.”

Sachin Sharma, CEO, GEM Enviro Management, said the reduction in corporate tax rate from 30 percent to 25 percent for companies where turnover is less than Rs. 50 crore is expected to enable the MSME companies in Textile sector. This will help them allocate their resources in expansion and growth and is therefore a welcome step in that perspective.

“We are looking forward to measures that will positively impact the overall textile and waste management industry. Government of India should emphasis further on taking initiatives to make the country’s textile / waste management market more competent on the global landscape,” Sharma added.

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