NEW DELHI (TIP): Voices against the government plan to slap antidumping duty on solar panels are getting stronger with Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari asking his commerce counterpart to drop the proposal as it would ‘escalate’ the cost of solar power in the country. The Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) had recommended slapping the restrictive duty on imported solar panels from the U.S., Malaysia, China and Chinese Taipei to protect domestic manufacturers.

The recommendations came against the backdrop of the U.S. dragging India to the WTO with respect to domestic sourcing norms for the national solar mission. India is of the view that its solar mission — which aims to have 20,000 MW solar capacity by 2022 — is compliant with WTO rules. In a letter to Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Mr. Gadkari has asked her to scrap the proposal of imposition of anti-dumping duty imports on solar panels.

“The duty if imposed, it would escalate the cost of solar power by about 100 per cent,” Gadkari’s letter said. He said indigenous manufacturers could be compensated with appropriate subsidy. “I have a firm view that the indigenous solar cell industry, which is in nascent state, needs protection and nurturing,” Gadkari added. Earlier in May, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had opposed the recommendation to slap proposal, saying ‘it is not the right time’.

“We are opposing it. From our side, we have said that it is not the right time…,” Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary at the MNRE had said. Meanwhile, Sumant Sinha, Chairman of the National Renewable Energy Committee of CII, said in Beijing: “The imposition of this ADD will very adversely impact the growth of the solar energy plans in India, particularly given the fact that these plans are at a nascent stage and require nurturing and encouragement.”

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