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As Centre and Delhi Govt Fight Over 'Lack' Of Funds, Crores Lie Unused In Environment Cess

Since 2010-11, Centre has collected Rs 28,000 crore through the 'Clean Environment Cess' (earlier known as the Clean Energy Cess), but more than half of the funds have not even been transferred to the National Clean Energy Fund, according to a study by IndiaSpend.

Rounak Kumar Gunjan | News18.com@Rounak_T

Updated:November 10, 2017, 2:43 PM IST
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As Centre and Delhi Govt Fight Over 'Lack' Of Funds, Crores Lie Unused In Environment Cess
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (left) and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

New Delhi: As deadly air pollution becomes a new normal in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal-led state government and Narendra Modi-led central government are busy passing the buck. Lack of financial resources, both sides claim, is the key hurdle. But data shows a bitter truth.

Since 2010-11, Centre has collected Rs 28,000 crore through the 'Clean Environment Cess' (earlier known as the Clean Energy Cess), but more than half of the funds have not even been transferred to the National Clean Energy Fund, according to a study by IndiaSpend.

It's important to recall here that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had doubled the clean environment cess from Rs 200 per tonne of coal usage to Rs 400 per tonne.

It's not the first time when funds meant for environment protection are not being used properly. Over the last decade, different governments at Centre didn't use about Rs 1.3 lakh crore, or 41% of total environment cess, according to data from Controller and Auditor General.

A cess is an additional tax meant for a specific purpose which does not need approval from Parliament in the form of a law or an Act. Most cesses are introduced during annual budget.

While cess for roads and sanitation have largely been used for intended purpose, those for secondary education, telecommunication, research and environment have not. CAG has pointed out these anomalies in various reports, exposing misplaced priorities.

The CAG recently critiqued the central government — the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance — for under-utilising cesses collected over the last two decades.

"The possibility of the diversion of funds for purposes not mandated under the Finance Act cannot be ruled out," the CAG report said.

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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