New Delhi: With climate change posing one of the biggest challenges, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday announced Rs.200 crore for research to develop plant and seed varieties that yield more and can resist climate change.
"Food security and agricultural development in the coming decades would depend upon scientific and technological breakthroughs in raising productivity. We have to develop plant and seed varieties that yield more and can resist climate change," Mukherjee said in his budget speech in the Lok Sabha.
"I propose to set aside a sum of Rs.200 crore for incentivising research with rewards, both for institutions and the research team responsible for such scientific breakthroughs," he said.
The budget allocation for the Ministry of Environment and Forests saw a minuscule jump of over five percent from Rs.2,491 crore last year to Rs.2,629 crore this year.
The finance minister announced major relief for the industries in renewable energy sector.
"In order to fully realise our potential in the realm of solar energy, solar thermal projects need encouragement. I propose to fully exempt plant and equipment etc. for the initial setting up of such projects from special countervailing duties (anti-subsidy duty)," he said.
Concessions have already been provided for encouraging the consumption of energy-saving devices.
"I propose to fully exempt a coating chemical used for compact fluorescent lamps, from basic customs duty. Excise duty on LED lamps is also being reduced to 6 percent," he added.
Specified parts required for the manufacture of hybrid vehicles enjoy full exemption from basic customs duty and special CVD. This concession is being extended to specified additional items and lithium ion batteries imported for the manufacture of battery packs for supply to electric or hybrid vehicle manufacturers.
While the total outlay saw a drop in funding for prevention and control of pollution from Rs.389 crore in 2011-10 to Rs.312 crore this year, conservation programme also saw a drop from Rs.29 crore last year to around Rs.18 crore this year.
The national afforestation and eco-development programme saw an increase from Rs.253 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.342 crore this year.
A provision of Rs.193 crore has been made for schemes in the environment and forest sector in the northeastern states.