Girish Sant Memorial Fellowship 2018

Abhishek Punetha has been awarded the Girish Sant Memorial Fellowship for 2018. 

Felix Varghese

Abhishek completed his Masters in Public Policy and Governance from Azim PremjI University, Bengaluru. He did his bachelors in Poitical Science, Economics and English literature from Kumaun University, Uttarkhand.

His research interest lies within the domain of Law, Society and Culture. He has been actively engaged with 'Culture of Reading' campaign run by 'Aarambh' in Uttarakhand.

The following reports are the result of a journey undertaken with the support of 'Girish Sant Memorial Fellowship.' The engagement started by looking into the 'Regulatory Governance Aspect of Hydropower Development in Uttarakhand' and resulted in the form of two reports.

 The report 'CAG Audit Reports and Hydropower Projects: A Commentary' enlists the governance issues in the hydropower sector using the CAG Audit reports and discusses the significance and limitations of these audit reports.

The second report is titled 'Reflections on Social Impact Assessment in Indian Context: An Engagement with SIA report of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project.' This report discusses the deficiencies in the SIA report of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project and reflects on it to analyse the SIA framework of India. In this process, the report also briefly sheds light on the conceptual evolution of SIA and the recent developments around it.

CAG Audit Reports and Hydropower Projects: A Commentary

Reflections on Social Impact Assessment in Indian Context: An Engagement with SIA report of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project

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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