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Young Parliamentarians to ask PM to review clean energy fund policy

According to reports, the Climate Parliament India, a group of young Parliamentarians, will write to the Prime Minister, seeking a review of the policy on usage of the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF). The NCEF has an estimated corpus of Rs 3,000 crore and a large part of it remains unutilised.

Since “at least 80 per cent of the corpus currently remains unutilised” the Group wants creation of a corpus under NCEF focused on providing risk guarantees for all renewable energy projects, irrespective of the technology used and supported by the Centre and States. The Prime Minister may also be asked to consider viability gap funding for clean energy projects.

“We had written to the Finance Minister, but after getting an opaque reply from him, we plan to approach the Prime Minister,” said Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, a Biju Janata Dal MP, and a member of the Steering Committee of The Climate Parliament. Deo plans to raise the matter in the winter session of Parliament, slated to begin on November 22.

In his letter to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Deo had sought a policy review of NCEF to create a corpus for renewable energy projects, especially in view of the shortage of conventional fuels (coal, gas and even large hydro resources).

“There is precious little information on the operationalisation of the NCEF other than guidelines and application forms,” he said. The NCEF corpus is non-lapsable and is formed through the levy of a clean energy cess of Rs 50 a tonne on coal produced domestically and imported to India.

The Finance Minister, responding to Deo’s letter, had said that the guidelines for appraisal and approval of projects/schemes eligible for financing under the Fund allow funding of clean energy projects of varied nature. Any projects/scheme relating to innovative methods to adopt clean energy technology and research and development in this area were eligible for funding under NCEF. “However, in order to ensure coverage of a wide variety of projects, reserving any part of the Fund to finance projects of a certain kind was not considered appropriate,” the letter said.

According to Deo, the NCEF collected Rs 1,066 crore in 2010-11, an estimated Rs 3,249 in 2011-12, and is expected to generate Rs 3,864 crore in 2012-13. According to the Economic Survey 2011-12, the Government expects to collect Rs 10,000 crore under the NCEF by 2015.

The Group is also seeking financial support for research in “breakthrough technologies” and facilitating their commercialisation, among other things.

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