Include national plastic recycling fund, R&D support for zero carbon tech in upcoming Budget: TERI

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2020 Published on January 13, 2020

With the Union Budget to be rolled out on February 1, environment think tank TERI has urged the government to allocate funds for reducing carbon footprint and setting up of a plastic recycling fund to enable collection and removal of plastic waste in the country.

In a meeting held with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently, Ajay Mathur, Director General (DG) of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), recommended that resource efficiency, waste management and decarbonisation of the economy need to be the key drivers of India’s green strategy.

“Research and development support for zero-carbon technologies for the steel and cement sectors, cement and steel production capacity in India is expected to triple by the mid-2030s. Current technologies for both these industries lead to an unavoidable production of CO2.

“To counter this, TERI proposes that an allocation is made for promoting research and development of low/zero CO2 emissions technology for the steel and cement sectors. This would encourage joint development and investment by the corporate sector,” Mathur said.

TERI also suggested that a National Plastic Recycling Fund must be set up to collect and recycle plastic waste.

“The existing waste management rules of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change already require an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the management of plastic waste. However, it is very difficult to specifically link a particular plastic waste to a particular manufacturer of the plastic products.

“To address the same, TERI recommends that the creation of a National Plastic Recycling Fund would provide the institutional measure to enable collection of plastic waste and their recycling. This could create new enterprises and would enable plastic waste to be effectively removed because of the monetary benefit to the waste collectors and recyclers,” the TERI DG told the minister.

Sharing the recommendations with PTI, Mathur said there should be higher allocation for resource efficiency and waste minimisation for which small cylinders could be made available at Rs 300 to below poverty line (BPL) households.

“Allocation of programmes such as KUSUM, UJJWALA, NCAP (National Clean Air Programme) has been successful in the past years. Under UJJWALA, TERI proposes that small cylinders could be made available at Rs 300 per cylinder to BPL household, with the balance cost to be met by subsidies.

“Whereas under NCAP, TERI recommends that the support for setting up of plants to utilise construction material waste is provided in the form of viability gap funding, with a view that they become competitive and viable in the short term,” he said.

The organisation also made some suggestions to the GST Council which include promotion of sales of high efficiency equipment by keeping it in the lowest GST bracket and that less efficient equipment be kept in the higher GST bracket.

“The process would send a signal about the intention of the government to promote energy efficiency, and would be revenue neutral as well,” it said.

It also asked the council to promote low emission vehicles by proposing that buyers who exchange BS II and BS III vehicles to newer BS VI vehicles could be provided either exemption from GST for the new BS VI vehicle purchase, or a lower GST rate.

“Even though personal vehicles that are used in Delhi are limited to a life of 15 years, and commercial vehicles to a life of 10 years, it would be many years before the high emitting vehicles are removed from the system.

The first budget in the second term of the Narendra Modi government will be presented on February 1.

The Budget session would be held in two phases from January 31 to April 3. The first phase of the session will be from January 31 to February 11 and the second will be from March 2 to April 3.

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Published on January 13, 2020
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