By Solar Times Bureau
Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, held her seventh Pre-Budget Consultations with different stakeholders from Infrastructure Sector and experts of energy sector and climate change in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21 here today.
The main areas of discussion during the aforesaid meeting included issues relating to challenges in the infrastructure sector vis-à-vis framing of trade rules and policies in global context, quality of resilience of infrastructure sector and related finance, railway infrastructure, enhanced focus on adapting renewable energy for economy and environment, climate resilient infrastructure development, promotion of non-fossil fuel based energy and growing role of Circular economy in development imperatives and policies among others.
Along with the Finance Minister, the meeting was attended by Finance Secretary, Shri Rajeev Kumar; Shri Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, Economic Affairs; Shri Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary; Shri Tuhin Kant Pandey, Secretary, DIPAM; Shri Chandra Kishore Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Shri Sanjeev Ranjan, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways; Shri Anand Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy; Dr K.V. Subramanian, CEA, and other senior officials of Ministry of Finance.
The stakeholders of Infrastructure Sector and experts of energy sector and climate change gave a wide range of suggestions in the aforesaid meeting including availability of finance for real estate, infrastructure and affordable housing; renewable energy sector to have larger capacity creation; further fine-tuning in IT Act; lower duties and softer lending rates; automotive industry’s role in fighting climate change through support for electric mobility, scrapping policy for old polluting vehicles and focus on mass transport powered by renewable energy; attention on taxonomy on green economic activities/climate finance; climate compliant investment; more funds for combating Air pollution increasing efficiency of resource use; promoting energy efficiency in SME sector via Government support to cluster based intermediaries and faster phasing out of depreciated coal fired power plants . Further suggestions include push to bio-fertiliser; viability gap funding for batteries to encourage renewable energy power storage, expansion of existing Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) , promotion of energy efficient appliances including LPG Cooking stoves and bringing technology for improving Railway infrastructure.
Stakeholders of Infrastructure Sector and experts of energy sector and climate change included Shri Mahendra Singhi, President, Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA); Shri Naveen Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd.; Shri Manoj Kohli, Executive MD of SB Energy; Shri Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India; Shri T.R. Dua, Director General, TAIPA; Shri Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM; Shri Pustav Joshi, Program Manager (Clean Energy Finance), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation; Shri Ajay Mathur, DG, TERI; Shri N. K.Goyal, President, CMAI Association of India, Chairman Emeritus TEMA; Shri Mihir Swarup Sharma, Head, Observer Research Foundation; Shri Kireet Kumar, Scientists-G & Head CLWRM, G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development; Shri Navroz K. Dubash, Professor, Centre for Policy Research; Shri Milind G. Sohoni, Professor, Indian School of Business and Shri Shantanu Dixit, Coordinator, Prayas (Energy Group) among others.