Indians grappling with the risk of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer from pollution have to contend with an unlikely adversary: The taxman.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rollout of the country’s biggest tax overhaul in decades is encouraging the use of petroleum coke, a fuel that spews more emissions than others. That’s because it’s being taxed at a rate that may be lower for some buyers than the alternative, and much cleaner natural gas.
Petcoke is taxed at 18% under the new nationwide system. Natural gas, however, is excluded and subjected instead to local levies that could add as much as 30% to its cost.
The goods and services tax, or GST, introduced in July is already posing a challenge for Modi, with rising concerns over its impact on small businesses representing almost half the economy. It’s also threatening his administration’s efforts to curb emissions in a nation that’s home to 14 of the 30 most-polluted cities in the world. India has plans to more than double the share of gas in its energy mix to 15%. Read More…
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