New Delhi: The central government announced a slew of measures for the promotion of green growth and renewable energy while tabling the Interim Budget 2024-2025 in Parliament on Thursday. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Budget speech today, said that through rooftop solarization, one crore households will be enabled to obtain up to 300 units of free electricity every month.
This scheme followed the resolve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the historic Pran Pratishta of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
According to the government, the benefits expected from this solarisation are savings up to Rs 15,000-18,000 crore annually for households from free solar electricity and selling the surplus to the distribution companies; charging of electric vehicles; entrepreneurship opportunities for a large number of vendors for supply and installation; and employment opportunities for the youth with technical skills in manufacturing, installation and maintenance.
To meet the commitment of ‘net-zero’ by 2070, Finance Minister Sitharaman proposed viability gap funding for harnessing offshore wind energy potential for initial capacity of one giga-watt, coal gasification and liquefaction capacity of 100 MT to be set up by 2030.
This will also help in reducing imports of natural gas, methanol, and ammonia. Phased mandatory blending of Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) in Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for transport and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) for domestic purposes to be mandated.
Financial assistance is to be provided for the procurement of biomass aggregation machinery to support collection.
Further, she said her government will expand and strengthen the e-vehicle ecosystem by supporting manufacturing and charging infrastructure adding that greater adoption of e-buses for public transport networks will be encouraged through a payment security mechanism.
To promote the green growth, Sitharaman proposed a new scheme of bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry which will provide environment-friendly alternatives such as biodegradable polymers, bio-plastics, bio-pharmaceuticals and bio-agri-inputs.
“This scheme will also help in transforming today’s consumptive manufacturing paradigm to the one based on regenerative principles,” she added. The interim budget, tabled today, will take care of the financial needs of the intervening period until a government is formed after the Lok Sabha polls after which a full budget will be presented by the new government in July.
With this Budget Presentation, Sitharaman equalled the record set by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who as finance minister, presented five annual budgets and one interim budget between 1959 and 1964. The Budget Session of Parliament commenced on Wednesday with President Droupadi Murmu addressing a joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The Indian economy is projected to grow close to 7 per cent in the financial year 2024-25 which starts this April, said the Ministry of Finance in a review report. India’s economy grew 7.2 per cent in 2022-23 and 8.7 per cent in 2021-22. The Indian economy is expected to grow 7.3 per cent in the current financial year 2023-24, remaining the fastest-growing major economy.