According to reports, Mr Anand Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, is to head the Solar Energy Industry Advisory Council, which has been recently set up by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Confirming this to Business Line, Mr A.N. Srivastava, Director, MNRE, who is in charge of National Solar Mission Coordination and Issues concerning manufacturing, duties and taxation, said that the council has been constituted with about 15 members from the industry.
He said that the list of members include industrialists Mr Jamshed Godrej, Mr Baba Kalyani and Mr Deepak Puri of Moser Baer.Business Linehas independently learnt that Mr K. Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar, Mr H.R. Gupta, Managing Director of Indosolar, Mr Vineet Mittal of Welspun as well as Mr B.P. Rao, Chairman and Managing Director, BHEL, and Mr B.C. Tripathi, Chairman and Managing Director, GAIL, are also members of the panel.
Mr Srivastava said that the idea was to have representatives from all segments of the industry. (However, sources toldBusiness Linethat L&T, which is the country’s largest EPC player in the solar industry, is not in the list.)
He said that the thrust of the committee’s mandate is ‘manufacture’, so that the Indian solar industry evolves with India-made equipment.
Sources said that the Council would advise MNRE on issues relating to “manufacture, investment, fiscal policies and other related issues.”
The term of the council ends on March 31, 2013, co-terminus with the Phase-I of the National Solar Mission.
The constitution of the Council must be viewed against the backdrop of the deep cleavage in the Indian solar industry with the developers wanting freedom for cheap imports, and the wafers and panel manufacturers asking for protection from dumping from across the shores.
Despite the Government’s stated policy of encouraging domestic manufacturing, most of the solar panels are coming from abroad, because, due to a build up of inventories in the US and China, manufacturers there are selling cheap.
Indian manufacturers such as Tata BP Solar and Indosolar have been badly hit by imports. The domestic industry feels that while the Chinese manufacturers are dumping, the Americans are selling cheap as they are backed by extremely low cost financing by the US Exim Bank.
Against this backdrop, they have been clamouring for a customs duty on imported solar modules, but a senior official of MNRE practically ruled out any customs protection, on the grounds that such a move would be go against commitments made by India in some international treaties.