A move that began as a minor levy on production of coal six years ago has become an important source of revenue for the government now, financing entire budget of some ministries and supporting clean and green activities.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Monday increased the cess on coal production from Rs 200 per tonne to Rs 400 per tonne. He also said the Clean Energy Cess would be renamed as Clean Environment Cess.
This was the third time the cess was doubled, since being introduced as Rs 50 per tonne in the 2010 budget. When it was doubled from Rs 100 per tonne to Rs 200 per tonne last year, it was estimated that it would contribute about Rs 13,000 crore to National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) every year. With the value of this fund going up further with the latest hike, the entire budget allocation for Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for this year — Rs 5,000 crore — is proposed to come from NCEF. Half the plan outlay for Environment Ministry, about Rs 1,000 crore, is also proposed to be met through this fund.
At the end of last year, the NCEF, which gets contributions from some other sources besides this cess on coal, had almost
Rs 17,000 crore in its kitty. India produces coal in excess of 600 million tonnes a year. It imports about 150 million tonnes every year to meet its demand. The cess applies to imported coal as well.
‘FDI will boost food processing industry’
The budget announcement of allowing 100 per cent FDI in marketing of food products made in India will double the processing industry for fruits and vegetables, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal told reporters on Tuesday.