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Editorial Analysis 5 July

5th July, 2024 Editorial Analysis

ENVIRONMENT

The shape of a five-year climate agenda for India

Source: The Hindu

Context

  • The new government must focus on climate action to align with sustainable economic development, strengthen global leadership and implement ambitious emission targets and sectoral policies for India's next five years.

Details

India's Progress on Climate Change

  • Global institutions like the International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and Global Biofuels Alliance were established by India along with other countries.
  • India had placed the Green Development Pact during G-20 presidency.
  • Recently, India had announced its net-zero emissions target by 2070.
  • Committed towards Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • Indian emissions carbon trading scheme was created.
  • Adopted ambitious sectoral emission reduction targets beyond the power sector.
  • Setting up of zero-carbon mobility goals.
  • The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) is working with many States in India to support their net-zero plans. For instance, CEEW has collaborated with Tamil Nadu and Bihar for their transition plans towards net-zero emissions.
  • A proposal for creating a Centre-State coordination group and incentivizing state-level actions through the Sixteenth Finance Commission.

India's Future Goals

  • Emission Reduction Targets:
    • Achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.
    • Reduce emission intensity by 33-35% by 2030 when compared to 2005 levels.
  • Panchamrit Action Plan (COP26):
    • Reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1 billion ton by 2030.
    • Lowering carbon intensity below 45 per cent by 2030.
    • Reach 500 GW non-fossil fuel energy capacity by 2030.
    • Meeting 50% of India’s energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.

India's Renewable Energy Efforts/Initiatives

  • Key Initiatives:
    • International Solar Alliance.
    • Mission Innovation for clean energy innovation.
    • Global Biofuels Alliance.
    • Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) mission.
  • Renewable Energy Targets:
    • India is one of the major economies that focuses on fastest pace of renewable capacity
    • Overall renewable energy capacity to be increased by five-fold.
    • Focusing on solar, hydro and hydrogen energy.
    • National Hydrogen Energy Mission.
  • Other Initiatives:
    • Cooling Action Plan (CAP) to reduce cooling demand in buildings.
    • National Research Foundation (NRF) for clean energy research.
    • Development of a bio-mass based economy.
    • Increase in nuclear power generation capacity.
    • Sustainable practices in fisheries, marine research and coastal management.

Challenges

  • Global Temperature Rise:
    • Global average temperature projected to rise above Paris Agreement targets.
  • Population and Energy Needs:
    • As India is largest population globally and one of the fastest growing major economies, requires large and growing energy demand.
    • Therefore, balancing economic growth with climate change goals is necessary.
  • Energy Mix and Emissions:
    • Carbon-intensive energy mix with coal as the primary source for electricity.
    • Third-largest emitter of CO2 globally.
    • Need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and invest in clean energy technologies.

Way Forward

  • Hosting international climate summits and drive global consensus on adaption finance to strengthen India’s position as a global climate leader.
  • Accelerating climate action across ministries and sectors and aligning economic development with sustainability.
  • Creation of Centre-State coordination group and incentivizing state-level actions.
  • Leveraging India’s position as the 3rd largest producer of solar energy.
  • More emphasis should be given to green hydrogen
  • Pursue a Green New Deal to add $1 trillion to GDP by 2030 and create 50 million jobs.

Conclusion

  • India's commitment to climate change mitigation and sustainable development is evident through its ambitious targets, global leadership and innovative domestic policies. India is well-positioned to lead by example on the global stage. With continued efforts and strategic planning, India can achieve its climate goals and contribute significantly to global climate action.

Sources:

The Hindu

POLITY

DATA UNINTERRUPTED

Source: Indian Express

Context

  • Government stopped releasing detailed monthly GST data which raises concern about data transparency and economic analysis.

Details

GST's Role in Taxation

  • Credibility and Transparency:
    • Goods and Services Tax (GST) brought credibility and transparency in taxation over the last five years.
    • It removed legacy tax rates and ensures uniform taxation across the country.
    • It established uniform taxation by preventing citizens from paying different taxes for the same service or commodity.
  • Economic Indicator:
    • It provides a timely indicator of economic activity which is faster than GDP or industrial production data.
    • It helps in assessing government’s revenue collection and fiscal deficit targets.

Impact on Taxation System

  • It eliminates cascading effects, double taxation and overlapping of taxes.
  • It has significantly reduced discretion though further improvement is needed to eliminate any remaining discretion.
  • It aims to make the taxation system transparent and free from any biases.

GST Collection and Performance

  • Around 56% increase in gross GST revenue collection for June 2022 when compared to June 2021.
  • Government has a target to maintain GST collection above Rs 1,40,000 crore per month.
  • Improved amount of collections in June 2024 which is Rs 1.74 lakh crore, a 7% increase YoY.
  • Highest average collections so far in April-June 2024: Rs 1.86 lakh crore.

Challenges/Concerns About Data Transparency

  • Importance of Data Transparency:
    • Transparency in releasing GST data is crucial for informed policymaking and economic analysis.
    • Opaqueness in information dissemination may impact a comprehensive understanding of the economy and may lead to poorly informed decisions.
  • Concerns About Stopping Monthly Press Releases:
    • Government opine that high absolute figures may create resentment among the public who feel "taxed too much."
    • Expert opinions suggest that discontinuing press releases may not reduce public resentment and results in a loss of valuable data for economic analysis such as state-wise breakup or consumption patterns.

Measures to Be Taken

  • Ensuring timely and transparent release of GST data to enable better economic analysis and informed policymaking.
  • Addressing concerns regarding data transparency by consistently providing detailed GST collection data.
  • Continuous efforts to be made to widen the tax base and improve compliance to sustain and increase GST collections.
  • Use technology-driven solutions to further reduce discretion and enhance the efficiency of the GST system.
  • Educate the public about the benefits of GST and the distinction between GST (consumption tax) and income tax to reduce misconceptions and resentment.

Conclusion

  • While GST is good for the economy. But requires some issues to be fixed like making sure all the data is accurate and easy to understand. This can make India's economy even stronger in future.

Sources:

Indian Express