Raising concerns over the survival of solar modules manufacturers, the All India Solar Industries Association (AISIA) in its pre-Budget recommendations has called for providing incentives, such as subsidies for power, capital, interest and depreciation to the industry as well as allowing duty-free import of manufacturing equipment.

The association recommended raising export incentives from 2 per cent to at least 10 per cent for the Indian solar modules manufacturing sector to reap the benefits of ‘Make in India’ initiative.

AISIA is an apex association comprising over 18 domestic solar module manufacturers and has been endorsed by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for its initiative in enhancing the capabilities of the Indian solar sector.

The recommendations come in the backdrop of the last fiscal year with major issues of imported modules, as well as components, at ‘dumping’ prices, from China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan, and bypassing the safeguard duty tariff, apart from issues of GST and SDG.

Several unimplemented items, such as the KUSUM and SRISTI schemes, and additional capacity creation, could move at a faster pace, as the Finance minister has strongly pitched for making solar energy as the “third crop for the Indian farmer”.

“All this hope would come to naught if the basic tariff issues are not resolved in the Budget. It is time India took a definitive step in the anti-dumping war that is currently raging in the solar energy sector. A potential solution could be to create a high trade value against cheap imports from countries like China and/or a countervailing duty, to offset the huge subsidies offered by China to its solar manufacturers or offering preferential tariffs to domestic solar equipment manufacturers,” said AISIA.

The industry estimates that the minimum safeguard duty to ensure sustainability of this sector should be 45 per cent to enable it to achieve the nation’s goal. The need of the hour is a set of favourable policies that will foster rapid growth for the solar power industry.

The industry employs over 115,000 people and almost the same number in the support and ancillary value chain. The solar power industry across the globe is committed to 100GW in solar energy generation in the next 40-45 months.