Committing close to Rs 5 lakh crore funds to fuel India's green energy plans, as many as 27 foreign and India's top public and private sector banks have assured to finance 78,000 mega watt (mw) of renewable energy (RE) projects.
"We have a commitment from 27 banks to fund 72,000 mw of RE projects...It's a great achievement, as earlier banks were vary of putting funds in the sector," Upendra Tripathi, secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy, told HT.
State Bank of India chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya had earlier said that the bank will provide Rs 75,000 crore to fund 15,000 mw of RE projects over five years.
Tripathi said that many other domestic and foreign banks are also keen to join the initiative.
The commitment by the banks comes within a day after nearly 300 companies submitted their commitments to the government to set up 266,000 mw (or 266 giga watt) of solar, wind and other RE projects in the next five to seven years. The combined funds requirement for setting up such capacities is estimated at over $300 billion (or Rs 18 lakh crore).
"We would support the renewable energy initiative... Banks would lend as per the economic viability of the projects and also depending on the respective board approvals," TM Bhasin, chairman, Indian Banks' Association told HT.
To ensure that such big commitments by the companies were for real, and not mere numbers to impress the government, a closed-door meeting was held by power, coal and renewable energy minister Piyush Goyal with around 40 CEOs of these top-notch companies.
"The minister was very categorical and gave us one week's time to come back with an assessed figure, which we can actually deliver...he told us that if some of us have overstreched the limits in terms of our balance sheets etc, we can come back and correct these figures...After which the government will hold us responsible to deliver this capacity as we are making this commitment to the Prime Minister," said a CEO who attended the meeting.
Following directions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a meeting was chaired by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth on Tuesday with 13 secretaries of various ministries for over three hours to ensure effective co-ordination with states. The meeting was held to put a proper policy framework in place so that no project gets stuck for want of clearances.
"If interests worth 266,000 mw green capacity have come, it's also a big challenge for the government to ensure that nothing gets stuck for any lapse on our end....today's meeting taken by the cabinet secretary, depicts the seriousness with which the government wants to take forward this initiative," Tripathi said. "The secretary in the meeting today passed instructions to ensure that clearances (are given) to domestic and foreign companies - whether relating to land, capital requirement, labour requirement, grid connectivity."