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Government Support for Sustainability and Conservation


Written By: Jagriti Shahi 


Introduction


As India faces the dual challenges of rapid economic growth and environmental sustainability, the government is increasingly committed to supporting sustainability and conservation efforts. This article explores the latest government initiatives, subsidies, plans, loan amounts, and budget allocations dedicated to fostering a greener and more sustainable future in India.


Figure: Data Source: Invest India



Figure: India’s clean Energy Transition Progress Versus Targets


As of February 2021, there was 39 GW of wind capacity installed in India, comprising 10.25 percent of the power mix. Growth of wind over the next five years will be driven by the expiry of the inter-state transmission (ISTS) charges waiver in 2023, as well as the trend of hybrid tenders combining wind, solar, and storage technologies.


Progress in Renewable Energy Deployment


India has made significant progress in deploying renewable energy sources in recent years. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), India is the world's fourth-largest producer of renewable energy, after China, the United States, and Germany.

As of 2021, India's total installed renewable energy capacity stood at 98 GW, accounting for around 25% of the country's total power capacity. Of this, solar power accounted for 45 GW, followed by wind power at 40 GW, and biomass and small hydropower at 10 GW and 4.5 GW, respectively.


India has also made significant progress in the area of rooftop solar, with around 6 GW of installed capacity as of 2021. The government's efforts to promote rooftop solar have been particularly successful in the commercial and industrial sectors, where businesses are able to generate their own electricity and reduce their reliance on the grid.


Latest Subsidies


  1. Renewable Energy Incentives The Indian government has been proactive in promoting renewable energy, particularly solar and wind power. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) offers several schemes, such as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM), which provides subsidies of up to 60% of the total cost for solar pumps and grid-connected renewable power plants. Additionally, the government offers a 30% capital subsidy for setting up solar rooftop systems, encouraging both residential and commercial installations. Link

  2. Electric Vehicle (EV) Subsidies To curb air pollution and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, India has introduced the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) India Scheme. Under FAME II, subsidies of up to ₹20,000 for electric two-wheelers, ₹55,000 for electric three-wheelers, and ₹1.5 lakh for electric cars are provided to encourage EV adoption. The scheme also supports the establishment of charging infrastructure, with ₹1,000 crore allocated for this purpose. Link

  3. Energy Efficiency Programs The Perform, Achieve, and Trade (PAT) Scheme, implemented by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), is a market-based mechanism to enhance energy efficiency in energy-intensive industries. The government also promotes energy-efficient appliances through the Standards & Labeling Program, offering incentives of up to ₹5,000 for purchasing energy-efficient appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and LED lights. Link


Strategic Plans


  1. National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) The NAPCC outlines India's strategy to combat climate change through eight national missions, including the National Solar MissionNational Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency, and National Water Mission. These missions focus on promoting renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and ensuring water sustainability, respectively.

  2. Sustainable Agriculture Initiatives The Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) promotes organic farming through subsidies and financial assistance to farmers. The scheme provides up to ₹50,000 per hectare for a three-year period to support organic farming practices. Additionally, the Soil Health Card Scheme helps farmers monitor soil health and adopt balanced use of fertilizers.

  3. Biodiversity Conservation Plans The National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) focuses on conserving biodiversity, promoting sustainable use of biological resources, and ensuring fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. The government also supports the creation of wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and biosphere reserves with an allocation of ₹1,500 crore for biodiversity conservation over the next five years.


Budget Allocations


  1. Increased Funding for Climate Action The Indian government has significantly increased budget allocations for climate action and environmental sustainability. The Union Budget 2024-25 has allocated ₹35,000 crore for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to support the development of solar and wind energy projects, as well as other renewable energy initiatives.

  2. Green Technology and Innovation The government is investing in research and development of green technologies through initiatives such as the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and the Clean Energy Research Initiative. These programs support startups and research institutions with an allocation of ₹2,000 crore for developing innovative solutions in clean energy, energy storage, and carbon capture.

  3. International Climate Finance India is actively participating in global climate finance mechanisms to support its sustainability goals. The government leverages funds from international organizations such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to implement large-scale climate projects. For instance, the GCF has approved funding of $1 billion for various climate projects in India over the next five years.


Loan Amount Subsidies


  1. Soft Loans for Renewable Energy Projects The Indian government, through various financial institutions, offers soft loans for renewable energy projects. The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) provides concessional loans with interest rates as low as 8.5% per annum for solar, wind, and biomass energy projects, with loan amounts ranging from ₹10 lakh to ₹15 crore.

  2. Subsidized Loans for Electric Vehicles To promote the adoption of electric vehicles, several public sector banks and financial institutions offer subsidized loans for EV purchases. These loans come with reduced interest rates of around 7-9% per annum and flexible repayment terms, with loan amounts up to ₹10 lakh for individual EV buyers and up to ₹1 crore for businesses.

  3. Agricultural Loans for Sustainable Practices The government provides subsidized loans to farmers under schemes such as the Kisan Credit Card (KCC), which offers financial support for adopting sustainable agricultural practices. These loans are available at lower interest rates of 4% per annum and often come with additional subsidies for purchasing eco-friendly equipment and inputs, with loan amounts up to ₹3 lakh.


Conclusion


India's commitment to sustainability and conservation is reflected in its comprehensive range of subsidies, strategic plans, loan amount subsidies, and budget allocations. As the government continues to enhance its efforts, the path towards a sustainable and resilient future for India becomes clearer. By staying informed about these initiatives, individuals and businesses can better align their actions with the nation's environmental goals.


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