Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

No impact of GST on renewables, no need for lower taxes: Goyal

No impact of GST on renewables, no need for lower taxes: Goyal

Speaking to media here today, power, coal, renewable energy and mines minister Piyush Goyal said the energy department of Tamil Nadu has agreed to the Center's request to change the project's fuel source from imported to domestic.

He accused the previous Congress government of "utter mismanagement" of state discoms and said it was the BJP that pulled the power distribution companies out of losses.

Free electricity connections were given to 256.81 lakh below poverty line families upto April 30, 2017, and the Centre released to the states grant worth a record ₹7,965.87 crore in FY'17, while projects with an outlay of ₹42,553.17 crore were approved for 32 states/Union Territories (UT), according to the statement. By itself, it is good for the nation.

About lower rates on coal under GST, he said, "The coal sector will also benefit (due to GST) with straight away benefits to consumers because (higher) taxes used to be a burden on consumer of India".

However, the minister is hopeful that lower GST rate of 5 per cent on coal, compared to existing 11.69 per cent, would help discoms provide power at affordable rates.

The new rates of solar power discovered in the auctions are even below the average rate of coal-based power produced by NTPC at Rs 3.20 per unit.

"Tariffs for projects vary from project to project. The rise will be compensated by a decline in corruption and operational difficulties", he said.

Welcoming the 5% tax on coal, Association of Power Producers director general Ashok Khurana said: "This will help to reduce the retail price of power for consumers".

Under the current official definition, villages can be called electrified if at least 10 per cent its households are provided with electricity connection, which can represent a rosier than reality scenario.

In a press conference on the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, Piyush Goyal said that electricity production is "surplus" in India. "It would need to be seen if any exemption notifications would be released by the government in this regard", he said. "Instead of counting 10 per cent households in the village to complete electrification process, now the government is focusing on providing power connections to each and every household of village, thus providing meaning to the concept of "Antyodaya".

The minister on this occasion said the Centre is ready to fund the smart metering programme in the states.

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