Government plans to impose 20% customs duty on solar power equipment to cut imports: Anurag Thakur

Government plans to impose 20% customs duty on solar power equipment to cut imports: Anurag Thakur

The government is considering a proposal by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to impose 20 per cent basic customs duty on solar modules to provide an edge to domestic manufacturers and discourage imports, particularly from China, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said on Thursday.

While the government has taken a number of steps to increase capacities in the renewable energy sector in the last few years, it is now time to cut down reliance on imports of solar equipment and components, especially from China, the minister said.

Currently, Chinese firms supply about 80 per cent of solar cells and modules in the Indian market.

“We are also planning to impose, as the MNRE suggested and they have been taking up with us (Finance Ministry), 20 per cent basic customs duty on the solar modules to discourage import from other countries,” he said while addressing a webinar organised by CII.

India imported solar power equipment worth USD 1.2 billion during April-December 2019, he said.

Thakur further said the government is in discussions with various stakeholders and most of the policies in the coming times will be long-term, aimed at making India self-reliant.

Speaking about the emphasis of the Narendra Modi-led government on green energy, he said, “The focus on renewable energy shows our ambition, intent and commitment to the world to shift towards a green future. India no longer talks about mega watts, we are taking giant strides towards giga watts capacity building to power our industries and cities of the future.”

The government has set up a green energy corridor with an estimated investment of USD 5.8 billion to ensure evacuation of renewable energy from generation points to the load centres by creating transmission infrastructure.

Besides, he said, MNRE has announced a provision for bank loans up to a limit of USD 2.3 million to borrowers to set up solar-based power generators, bio-mass based power generators, wind power systems and micro hydel plants.