Of Rs 40k-crore National Clean Energy Fund, only Rs 1.6 crore spent on projects in last 3 years

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NEW DELHI: The government has collected Rs 40,000 crore as cess on coal throughimage the National Clean Energy Fund, but even as intended beneficiaries continue to wait for disbursement, it has allocated just over 1 per cent of this amount to the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), the nodal department for developing clean energy in the country. 
Worse, of the Rs 500 crore of the NCEF amount disbursed to it, the ministry has spent just Rs 1.6 crore on clean energy projects over the past three years. Replying to an application filed by ET under the Right to Information Act, the ministry further disclosed that it had spent just Rs 57 lakh since 2011 on grid-connected projects that are supposed to be priority for the government’s clean energy initiatives. 

  The NCEF was set up in 2010-11 for promoting clean energy in the country. The lack of inter-ministerial coordination and delay in allocation have resulted in stalling of projects worth Rs 10,000 crore for want of allocation of funds from the NCEF, the ministry officials said. 

The government had decided to levy a cess of Rs 50 per tonne on both domestically produced and imported coal to build up the NCEF, and fund research and innovative projects in clean energy technology. The finance ministry accumulates this fund and it is disbursed in consultation with the Planning Commission. 

The MNRE has been complaining to the central government that the amount allocated under the NCEF is not being disbursed regularly. “Our annual allocation should be Rs 3,500 crore, but we have never received it. Last year, Rs 1,500 crore was disbursed from the NCEF for ministry’s budget. This clogs the projects selected to be funded through the NCEF,” said a senior MNRE official. 

  Funding of the ambitious ‘Green Corridors’ project, alternative transmission infrastructure for renewable power, subsidy amount to off-grid renewable solution providers and viability funding to the solar power project developers under the National Solar Mission are all dependent on the NCEF, government officials said. 

The recently-announced Wind Energy Mission has also pinned its hopes on the NCEF for potential funding. The unpaid amount to the off-grid solar solution providers has grown to Rs 1,100 crore. 

Source: The Economic Times

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