India’s biggest domestic source of public funds to push renewable energy and protect the environment has become a victim of the Goods and Services Tax. “Basically, the fund is now dead wood,” a senior finance ministry official said.
In April, the government included the tax collected on production and import of coal to the GST schedule. With this move, the tax, which was funelled into the National Clean Energy and Environment Fund, was diverted to compensating the states that stand to lose revenue as a consequence of the GST.
Now, the finance ministry’s responses to Scroll.in’s queries under the Right To Information Act, 2005, show even the unspent funds lying in the National Clean Energy and Environment Fund have been diverted.
The unspent funds amount to Rs 56,700 crore.
A steady stream of funds for clean energy, amounting to more than Rs 1 lakh crore over next five years will also dry up from next financial year. Indeed, from next year, India will not have the National Clean Energy and Environment Fund.