Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has doled out some tax concessions for green products and pushed for measures to make agriculture sustainable.
He has exempted solar plants and equipment from special countervailing duty (CVD) to encourage the setting up of new solar thermal
In order to encourage the use of energy saving devices such as compact fluorescent lamps and LED lights, Mukherjee has proposed their exemption from customs duty.
"Excise duty on LED lamps is also being reduced to 6%,"his speech read.
The minister also announced a full exemption from customs and special CVD for the manufacture of batteries required to run hybrid vehicles. "This concession is being extended to specified additional items and lithium ion batteries that are imported to manufacture battery packs for electric or hybrid vehicle manufacturers," he said.
To fight climate change, the minister announced a National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture. He also proposed a national mission on oils seeds.
Anumita Roy Chowdhury of the Centre of Science and Environment expressed disappointment at the finance ministry not doing enough to discourage the use of polluting fuels such as diesel.
The finance minister also tried to allay the fear of both industry and environmentalists by saying that a balance would be struck between approving projects and protecting the environment.
“A group of ministers has been set up to consider all issues relating to environmental concerns emanating from various departmental activities, including those related to infrastructure and mining,” he said.