1. Cess on Diesel Cars to fight pollution?
  2. is it the time to close Digboi refinery?

Cess on Diesel Cars to fight pollution?

  • Famous advocate Harish Salve assists Forest bench of Supreme court as Amicus curiae. He presents a report- that
  • Every year 3000 kids die in Delhi alone because of air pollution.
  • Diesel is main culprit- produces 10x times more carcinogenic particles than petrol.
  • diesel consumption is high because its cheaper than petrol (due to subsidies).
  • Therefore, 30% cess should be levied on private diesel vehicles.

and this money should be used for three reforms:

  1. producing clean diesel [that has only 10ppm sulphur]
  2. Introduce Euro V and Euro VI norms.
  3. strengthen public transport system (buses and metros)

Supreme Court panel forwards this recommendation to Finance ministry. But Chindu says “no,we cannot levy any environmental cess on diesel cars. because…..

  1. Barely 13% of total automobiles in India are “private diesel vehicleS” = hardly any cess money will come.
  2. We already have started reducing diesel subsidies in phased manners.
  3. Soon there won’t be a big difference between the prices of diesel vs petrol.
  4. Desi automobile sector already facing slowdown and negative growth. if we impose 30% cess, it’d hurt the sales of diesel cars and SUVs.
What’s the difference between Cess and Surcharge?
surcharge cess
tax on tax same
calculated only on tax liability taken on tax liability + surcharge. and for a specific purpose e.g highway renovation, higher education or xyz.
suppose you’ve to pay Rs.1 lakh as income tax and government demands 10% surcharge then total tax to paid = 1.10 lakh Suppose education cess is 3%. Cess is calculated on tax + surcharge.= 3% of Rs.1.10 lakhs.=3300 rupees.
  • meaning finally you’ll have to pay
  • income tax + surcharge (on IT) + Cess (on IT+Surcharge)
  • =113300

Side note: What is Euro V and Euro VI norms?

  • These norms define the maximum limit of pollutant that a vehicle can emit. (CO2, nitrogen oxide, sulfer and suspended particulate matter)
  • If vehicle emits more than this limit, it cannot be sold in Europe.
  • In Euro norms, as we move higher, the limits become stricter. Observe
Euro norm limit of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM)
Euro I 0.14
Euro II 0.08
Euro III 0.05
Euro IV 0.025
Euro V 0.005
Euro IV 0.0025

What about India?
We follow Euro norms under the lable “Bharat stage” norms.

13 major cities of India Bharat stage 4 norms
rest of India Bharat Stage 3 norms.

is it the time to close Digboi refinery?

Digboi refinery is in news because of election- the politicians make claims and counter-claim on how UPA/Assam government has slowly destroyed the profitability of this refinery.
First the theory

  • Petroleum reserves form in sedimentary basins.
  • The flora and fauna decompose under heavy pressure and temperature => crude oil + natural gas.
  • Digboi oil field = Sedimentary rocks of Brahmputra valley in Assam.
  • Digboi refinery = First oil well of India. oldest and (perhaps) lowest output in world.
  • Refinery hasn’t been upgraded, on a verge of financial-collapse due to shortage of man and raw material (crude oil)
  • if refinery closes=> unemployment to the surrounding area (those rickshaw-walla, tea-vendors and so on)

(Interview Q.) Given its low output and low profitability, don’t you think Digboi refinery should be closed down, And instead put focus on hydro-electrical potential of North East?

Points to consider:

  1. First, make a fresh assessment- whether it is feasible to continue running this refinery.
  2. If the technological upgrades can solve the man-power crunch and increase the production levels, then no need to close down the refinery.
  3. It is true that North-East region has high potential for development of Hydro-electric power station,
  4. But we need to be cautious while exploiting this potential.
  5. We shouldn’t forget that Hydro-electricity has long gestation period and damaging effect on surrounding environment and leads to forcible migration/rehabilitation of hundreds of families.
  6. Hydro-electric plants interfere with the natural flow of the river drainage
  7. Haphazard development of the dams on the upper course of river had catalysed the Uttrakhand flood disaster.
  8. Besides, North Eastern region is home of many pristine forest tracts, national parks and rare flora and fauna. The forests have spiritual value for indigenous tribal people.

Interview Questions:

  1. Given its low output and low profitability, don’t you think Digboi refinery should be closed down, And instead put focus on hydro-electrical potential of North East?<br>
  2. We should impose Cess on Diesel Cars, and use that money to fight pollution. Do you agree?