Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during a press conference in New Delhi, on February 1, 2021. (Bloomberg)
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during a press conference in New Delhi, on February 1, 2021. (Bloomberg)

Budget 2021: Hydrogen mission; solar energy, clean air among focus areas

Centre’s clean air programme got a shot in the arm with Sitharaman announcing a fund of 2,217 crore for air pollution control in 42 cities
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
PUBLISHED ON FEB 02, 2021 09:39 AM IST

The Centre will launch a Hydrogen Energy Mission in 2021-22 for generating hydrogen from green power sources. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of a hydrogen mission could go a long way in reducing India’s carbon footprint, experts said.

According to a report titled “The Potential Role of Hydrogen in India – Harnessing the Hype” by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) released in December last year, demand for hydrogen could increase by at least 5-fold by 2050, continuing to grow in the second half of the century in India.

Demand for hydrogen is at around 6 metric tonne (MT) per annum, mainly from industry sectors, such as fertilizers and refineries. This can increase to around 28 MT by 2050 mainly due to cost reductions in key technologies and a push to reduce carbon footprint. Demand will mainly grow in steel and road transport, shipping and aviation sectors. The report also projected that India would require 40 MT of green hydrogen to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060. “I am glad this is happening now,” said TERI director general Ajay Mathur.

Also read | What Union Budget 2021-2022 gets right: HT Editorial

Hydrogen from renewables can be produced through various methods, one of them is to use renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolyser, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Hydrogen from renewable sources can play a critical role in heavy-duty, long-distance transport. While battery operated electric vehicles (BEV) will become competitive for heavy-duty transport, hydrogen production will be needed. It will also play a critical role in production of ammonia which is currently being produced from fossil-fuel based hydrogen.

“The Hydrogen Energy Mission will be critical because hydrogen may be the only way to have zero carbon emissions from heavy industries like cement and steel -- provided that hydrogen is produced by electrolysis from renewable electricity,” said Ulka Kelkar, director, Climate Program, World Resources Institute, India.

The Budget also gave a boost to solar energy by proposing to provide a capital infusion of 1,000 crore to the Solar Energy Corporation of India and 1,500 crore to the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency. “To build up domestic capacity, we will notify a phased manufacturing plan for solar cells and solar panels. At present, to encourage domestic production, we are raising duty on solar inverters from 5% to 20%, and on solar lanterns from 5% to 15%,” Sitharaman said in her Budget speech.

Centre’s clean air programme also got a shot in the arm with Sitharaman announcing a fund of 2,217 crore for air pollution control in 42 cities with a million plus population.

The Centre had approved the release of 2,200 crore last year based on recommendation of the 15th Finance Commission. The grant is meant to be utilised for air quality improvement measures under the National Clean Air Programme including capacity building of the local urban bodies as well as state pollution control boards to improve monitoring of air pollution levels in these cities. Delhi, however, is not among cities to receive funds under this grant.

Further, under the Swachch Bharat Mission, Sitharaman has announced a focus on complete faecal sludge management and waste water treatment, segregation at source of garbage, reduction in single-use plastic, reduction in air pollution by effectively managing waste from construction-and-demolition activities and bioremediation of all legacy dump sites. This will be implemented with a total financial allocation of 141,678 crore over a period of five years from 2021-2026.

Sitharaman also announced a voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles. “This will help in encouraging fuel-efficient, environment friendly vehicles, thereby reducing vehicular pollution and oil import bill. Vehicles would undergo fitness tests in automated fitness centres after 20 years in case of personal vehicles, and after 15 years in case of commercial vehicles. Details of the scheme will be separately shared by the ministry,” she said.

Also read | Decoding the big numbers in the Union Budget ‘21-22

“We still haven’t seen the scrappage policy so we don’t know what the fine print is. The scrappage policy is meant to be a stimulus to the economy and will also result in transition to cleaner vehicles but it’s a voluntary policy so we will have to study the incentives and disincentives that come with it. There is continued focus on clean air in million plus cities and the government has now detailed out its waste management policy with waste management at source, management of landfills etc. A co-benefit of these will also be improved air quality, But we need to see how money for clean air was spent since last year. We actually need a performance budget to understand how the money is being utilised and what results its yielding,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment.

The Budget announced an outlay of more than 4,000 crore over five years for a Deep Ocean Mission which will cover deep ocean survey exploration and projects for the conservation of deep sea biodiversity.

“Drawing from the government’s Blue Economy policy, the budget makes allocations for expansion of shipping and inland waterways infrastructure along with 2,000 crore for PPP model in all major ports. In another section it discusses the need for the conservation of deep ocean biodiversity. Neither policy documents nor budget allocations recognize that these priorities could be in conflict. This is already visible in several new proposals including those proposed in the Little Andaman Islands or in the west coast in places like Karwar and Dahanu,” said Kanchi Kohli, legal researcher, Centre for Policy Research.

Environment ministry was allocated 3,100 crore for various programmes, including control of air pollution in Budget 2020-21. The revised estimates for 2020-21 was 2,015 crore and the new budget estimates for 2021-22 is 2,869 crore.

The newly formed Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and adjoining areas got a budget provision of 20 crore for its activities.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at Parliament, during the ongoing Budget Session, in New Delhi. (PTI)
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at Parliament, during the ongoing Budget Session, in New Delhi. (PTI)

Finance minister Sitharaman to address post-Budget RBI board meeting

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shankhyaneel Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 16, 2021 07:10 AM IST
  • The meeting will be held virtually this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Close
Union minister for finance Nirmala Sitharaman is seen in this file photo.
Union minister for finance Nirmala Sitharaman is seen in this file photo.

Budget aims to uplift poor, Oppn is spreading false narrative: FM Sitharaman

By Rajeev Jayaswal, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 13, 2021 02:19 AM IST
Speaking on the budget in the Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman said the budget was drawn from the experience of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known for his commitment to development, growth and reform, and it was through these three things that Aatmanirbhar Bharat would be attained.
Close
Union minister Anurag Thakur speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.(ANI Photo/RSTV Screengrab)
Union minister Anurag Thakur speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.(ANI Photo/RSTV Screengrab)

Budget shows hope to build new, self-reliant India, says Anurag Thakur

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar
PUBLISHED ON FEB 12, 2021 11:31 AM IST
Anurag Thakur also addressed the farmers’ stir issue and challenged the Congress and Opposition leaders to show where it was written that mandi and minimum support price system will end.
Close
Union minister for finance and corporate affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman. (File photo)
Union minister for finance and corporate affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman. (File photo)

Nirmala Sitharaman to reply on budget discussion in Rajya Sabha today

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sarah Kadan
UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2021 09:48 AM IST
The discussion started on Wednesday in Lok Sabha with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply to the motion of thanks on the President’s address
Close
A view of Parliament House.
A view of Parliament House.

Highlights: FM to reply to Budget discussion in Lok Sabha at 10am on Feb 13

UPDATED ON FEB 13, 2021 12:29 AM IST
Budget session highlights: Today is also the last sitting of the Rajya Sabha for the first phase of the session.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu speaks during the budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo/RSTV Grab)
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu speaks during the budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo/RSTV Grab)

Budget session: Rajya Sabha sitting for February 13 cancelled

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 12, 2021 07:21 AM IST
The first part of the budget session was scheduled to continue till February 15, however, it was later rescheduled to end on February 13.
Close
Union defence minister Rajnath Singh in Rajya Sabha(RSTV/screengrab)
Union defence minister Rajnath Singh in Rajya Sabha(RSTV/screengrab)

‘Disengagement plan at Pangong Tso finalised’, says Rajnath Singh on China row

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 11, 2021 11:48 AM IST
Rajnath Singh's remarks come a day after the Chinese defence ministry said that both sides have begun disengaging on the southern and northern banks of Pangong Tso
Close
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the farewell to retiring Rajya Sabha MPs during the Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI Photo/ RSTV Grab)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the farewell to retiring Rajya Sabha MPs during the Budget Session of Parliament in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI Photo/ RSTV Grab)

PM Modi to reply to motion of thanks on President’s address in Lok Sabha today

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar
UPDATED ON FEB 10, 2021 02:02 PM IST
Modi had delivered his reply to the President's address in the Rajya Sabha on Monday where he asserted that his government was working for the welfare of small farmers
Close
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking in the Rajya Sabha during ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Monday(PTI Photo )
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking in the Rajya Sabha during ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Monday(PTI Photo )

‘Working for small farmers’, says PM Modi amid farm stir, hits out at ‘new FDI’

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar
UPDATED ON FEB 08, 2021 03:11 PM IST
PM Modi said that since his government came to power in 2014, the Centre has initiated changes in the agriculture sector aimed at empowering farmers
Close
Union minister of finance Nirmala Sitharaman, New Delhi, February 1, 2021 (Ajay Aggarwal /HT PHOTO)
Union minister of finance Nirmala Sitharaman, New Delhi, February 1, 2021 (Ajay Aggarwal /HT PHOTO)

Budget about faith, disinvestment not equal to selling family silver: FM

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON FEB 07, 2021 02:44 PM IST
Talking about the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Nirmala Sitharaman said that India found a way to survive "even when developed countries are struggling".
Close
Union Minister for Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad held a press conference on Cabinet Decisions, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)
Union Minister for Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad held a press conference on Cabinet Decisions, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

Budget focuses on spending to boost economic growth, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

PTI, Patna
PUBLISHED ON FEB 07, 2021 07:45 AM IST
The Centre has increased the budgetary outlay for health and wellbeing to over 2.23 lakh crore from an estimated allocation of around 94,000 crore in the current fiscal.
Close
The budget also proposed to extend the eligibility for claiming tax holiday and capital gains exemption for investment in startups till March 31, 2022.(PTI)
The budget also proposed to extend the eligibility for claiming tax holiday and capital gains exemption for investment in startups till March 31, 2022.(PTI)

Union Budget 2021-22: Here are 10 income tax changes announced

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 05, 2021 09:20 AM IST
The changes include unit-linked insurance policies (ULIP), pre-filled income tax returns (ITR) forms, higher tax deduction at source (TDS) for non-filers of income tax returns and exemption of dividend payment to REIT/InvIT from TDS among others.
Close
Employees Provident Fund Organisation office (EPFO) on Rajaram Mohan Roy Road,in Bangalore(Hemant Mishra/Mint)
Employees Provident Fund Organisation office (EPFO) on Rajaram Mohan Roy Road,in Bangalore(Hemant Mishra/Mint)

Govt says taxation of EPF contribution will not affect genuine contributors

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shankhyaneel Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 04, 2021 08:24 PM IST
  • The rule is to ensure that high net worth individuals who post huge sums of money per month in their EPF accounts do not get to misuse the provision of assured high interest.
Close
On February 1, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had briefed all the ministers and spokespersons on budget and how to counter the opposition's criticism of it.(HT Photo)
On February 1, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had briefed all the ministers and spokespersons on budget and how to counter the opposition's criticism of it.(HT Photo)

BJP to reach out to masses, explain welfare measures in Union Budget

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 04, 2021 02:23 PM IST
The Cabinet ministers and rest of the ministers of state and independence charge and national general secretaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party will be touring cities allocated to them on February 6 and February 7.
Close
Finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey says government is aiming to spend more on infrastructure to boost incomes and generate employment. (ANI Photo)
Finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey says government is aiming to spend more on infrastructure to boost incomes and generate employment. (ANI Photo)

Govt to spend more on infrastructure to boost incomes: Finance secretary

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shankhyaneel Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 03, 2021 10:12 PM IST
  • Pandey said the move is aimed at ensuring that government presence is not required in the private sector and foreign investments.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP