Girish Sant Memorial Annual Event, 2016

In December 2015, the world’s nations met in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) and came up with the Paris Agreement – an international agreement that aims to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C and even tries to limit it to 1.5 degrees C.

The Girish Sant Memorial Annual Event for 2016, held on February 13, 2016 explored the links between the discussions and agreements at COP-21 and India’s development needs and prospects. These links were elaborated upon and discussed by an eminent panel of scholars and practitioners, and were an appropriate tribute to Girish Sant, who worked towards an international climate regime that limits global warming while keeping India’s needs in mind.

 The discussion explored what this Agreement could mean for India. India is a highly vulnerable country to climate change impacts, and has much to gain from an effective climate agreement. At the same time, India has considerable future energy needs if we are to meet domestic goals of poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The 2015 Agreement potentially carries implications for both objectives. The panelists briefly introduced India’s stakes in the global climate debate and the basic outlines of the 2015 Agreement, before discussing its broader implications for India’s development future. The discussion concluded by a question-answer session with the audience.

Topic: The Paris Agreement on climate and implications for India


  • Mr. Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment
  • Dr. Navroz Dubash, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research
  • Dr. Sharachchandra Lele, Senior Fellow, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment

A recording of the panel discussion can be viewed below:


Memorial Activities

Girish Sant Memorial Annual Event, 2021

A Panel Discussion on

Energy: Taxes and Transition

The energy sector, and in particular, fossil fuels are a significant contributor to the overall revenue of India’s central and state governments. For example, the GST Compensation Cess, which started in 2010-11 with a cess of ₹50/ton on all coal has kept increasing over the years and now stands at ₹400/ton. Further, governments have traditionally depended heavily on taxes from petrol and diesel, and recent increases in excise and VAT further demonstrate this. Roughly 60-70% of the final prices of diesel and petrol respectively are made up of taxes. The total contribution to public tax revenue from taxes on coal, petroleum & natural gas, and electricity sectors amounted to about ₹6 lakh crores out of a total revenue of about ₹34 lakh crores in 2018-19. The taxes on energy sectors contributed 25% of the total tax revenue of the Centre, and 13% of the total tax revenue to the states. Since many energy sources are outside GST, these taxes cannot be offset. Moreover, since the bulk of the tax revenues from the energy sector accrue from fossil fuels, the inevitable energy transition away from fossil fuels towards renewables and electric mobility will have a significant impact on public tax revenues.

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