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Budget 2014: Power Ministry may seek scrapping of proposed anti-dumping duty on imported solar gear

According to reports, the Power Ministry may seek dropping of the proposal to levy anti-dumping duty on imported solar power equipment on the plea that the current manufacturing capacity is not sufficient to meet the requirements of electricity generating firms in the sector.

“It’s a quasi-judicial process and we will respect the process and take adequate measures to get the support of the Finance Ministry and the Commerce Ministry in this regard,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal said.

The Commerce Ministry has recommended levying anti-dumping duty on solar cells imported from the US, Malaysia, China and Chinese Taipei, a move that would provide relief to struggling domestic manufacturers.

Goyal said at present, the country has solar power equipment manufacturing capacity of 700-800 MW, which is inadequate in meeting the huge plans that the government has for expanding renewable energy sources.

Recognising the need for greater local equipment manufacturing, he added, “There should be no denying that India should expand the manufacturing base and we should look at more and more indigenous production of solar equipment.”

However, the Minister added that for sometime the proposal needs to be reconsidered to enable international manufacturers to set up shop and produce in India while simultaneously not effecting the roll out of the expanded solar generating capacity.

Meanwhile, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has asked his commerce counterpart to drop the proposal as it would escalate the cost of solar power in the country.

The proposal to levy duty came against the backdrop of the US dragging India to the World Trade Organisation with respect to domestic sourcing norms for the national solar mission.

India on the other hand is of the view that its solar mission — which aims to have 20,000 MW solar capacity by 2022 — is compliant with WTO rules.

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