According to reports, power minister Piyush Goyal and rural development minister Nitin Gadkari have demanded the commerce ministry to drop the move to slap anti-dumping duty on solar panels from the US, Malaysia , China and Chinese Taipei.
While Goyal is reported to have sought a review at ameeting with Nirmala Sitharaman, Gadkari has shot off a letter to the commerce minister saying anti-dumping levy would “escalate” the cost of solar projects.
The UPA-2 government had launched the anti-dumping probe in January 2013 after domestic manufacturers of PV (photo-voltaic ) panels claimed they were losing Rs 1,000 crore worth of business annually and suffering job losses due to cheap imports. Subsequently the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) had recommended slapping the restrictive duty.But Gadkari wrote, “This duty, if imposed, would escalate cost of solar power by about 100%. Presently, solar power projects with capacity of 4,000 mw have been tendered recently. These projects would be stuck due to price escalation … The whole purpose of aligning solar power with main grid will be defeated. The indigenous manufacturers can be compensated with appropriate subsidy”.
The US recently dragged India to WTO after the UPA-2 government said solar projects must use at least 15% locallymanufactured equipment. India has taken the stand that its solar mission, aiming to install 20,000 mw solar capacity by 2022, is compliant with WTO norms.
US and EU too insist on domestic equipment and recently imposed anti-dumping duty on panels from China. West Asian countries, China and South Africa also require locallymanufactured equipment to be used in solar farms. Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association has been demanding 30-35 % anti-dumping duty to discourage imports from these countries “at ridiculously low prices” in violation of international fair trade regulations.