Budget 2019 Fails to Meet Renewable Industry’s Expectations Yet Again

The interim Budget 2019 was announced on February 1, 2019 by the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal. Like the previous two years, this year’s Budget also appears to have failed to cater to the domestic renewable energy sector.

In Goyal’s Budget speech in Parliament, there were only fleeting references to the renewable energy sector with the minister mostly talking about the major sectoral initiatives undertaken by the NDA government through the year.

Key Highlights from the Budget Speech

  • By March 2019, all willing households will get an electricity connection.
  • GST registered small and medium-sized enterprise units will get 2 percent interest rebate on incremental loan of ₹10 million (~$140,852).
  • The requirement of sourcing from SMEs by government enterprises has been increased to 25 percent. Of this, the material to the extent of at least 3 percent will be sourced from women-owned SMEs.
  • India will drive on Electric Vehicles with renewables becoming a major source of energy supply.
  • India will lead the world in the transport revolution through EVs and energy storage devices, bringing down import dependence and ensuring energy security.

The year 2018 was rough for India’s renewable energy sector, especially solar. The need for clarity on GST rates delayed many projects. The imposition of safeguard duty in the middle of the year led to many legal battles and increased the cost of solar projects. Cancellation of many auctions by state agencies also hampered the confidence of project developers in the government. Amid such uncertain times, the industry was waiting for the NDA-government’s last budget before the Lok Sabha polls, anticipating some big bang announcements for the sector.

Mercom previously reported that Budget could be an opportunity to help restore the confidence in stakeholders, announce further reforms, and steer the renewable energy industry in the right direction to meet the target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 — a goal which was set by the NDA government in the beginning of its five-year term.

The interim Budget is devoid of any grants, incentives, or subsidies for the renewable energy sector, proving to be another damp squib for renewable energy sector in India. It is similar to the Union Budget 2018-19 and the 2017-18 Budget which did not include any major subsidies or incentives for the renewable energy sector, and brought the sector much disappointment.

Image credit: ANI via Twitter

Saumy Prateek Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.