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Solar Mission of India And The Legal Implications of GATT Article XX of The Domestic Environment of

Analysis of the status of Solar Power Projects in India, the growth and development of these projects and the legal implications in the aspect of International Trade due to such Clean Energy measures being adopted by India.

In the contemporary era and period, there is a prerequisite to preserve a balance between the economic goals of a nation and its Environmental Objects at the same time. While many nations are still contemplating such measures, India has taken a step towards the conservation of fossil fuels and to prevent pollution by adhering to the Paris Climate Treaty while also initiating the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) to enable an environment-oriented trade approach. To attain the aforementioned goals, it is essential to shift to power and energy obtained from non-fossil sources. Therefore, resources such as Solar, Hydro and Wind energies are being utilized. India has been a pioneer in this sphere.

Besides this, the world has been heading to a common commercial arena. This entails that there needs to be a level playing field for all the countries. Therefore, a common set of rules and regulations have been framed for the same and the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was brought into place. Article XX of the GATT provides for exceptions in case of issues pertaining to the Environment. India has been facing issues in implementing its Solar Mission owing to the ineffectiveness of this Article XX and thus affecting the Environment at a local and domestic level.

In the present paper, the author aims to analyze the status of Solar Power Projects in India, the growth and development of these projects and the legal implications in the aspect of International Trade due to such Clean Energy measures being adopted by India.

The author also will give suggestions and recommendations for efficient Trade and Environmental policy mechanism, which if followed by the countries will result in a harmonious Trade mechanism while also preserving the Environment.

Research Methodology
In the present research, data has been procured using both primary and secondary sources. The sources include the details of the Solar Parks and the cumulative commissioning of Solar Power depending on the restrictions being placed on India.

Environment being a multi - faceted concept is directly linked to a number of other subjects such as Law, Society, Politics and Trade. In the present age, there has been an exigent need for linking the Environment objectives of a nation to its other interests. There have been numerous international conventions formulated for the purpose of regulating the trade and environment policies around the world.
International regulations on trade and environment

In the pursuit of promoting conscientious environmental practices both at domestic level and in the International arena, legislations are enacted by nations that dictate and lay down the trade restrictions, which in turn regulate the flow of goods across the boundaries of the nations. These restrictions cause hindrances and at times tend to contradict the free trade practices that have been laid down.

1. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1994

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is the regulating multilateral agreement that provides for remedies in case of such restrictions. The Article XX of the GATT provides for general exceptions for imposition of Trade restrictions.[1]Under this, one of the exception is any product impacting Environment. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is a multi - lateral agreement that aims at providing remedies and regulates trade around the world. All the signatories to this Agreement are obligated to abide by the rules set out by it. Failing which, trade impositions can be made by the WTO dispute panel. Under this, the Article XX specifically deals with the aspect of Environment as exceptions to trade restrictions.

2. Rio Convention:

The ambit of the Rio Convention is wider and talks predominantly about Environment and Development. This convention aimed at complete sustainable development and saw a participation by over 170 countries.

3. Other Multi – lateral trade agreements signed by the individual parties

# Besides these agreements, the WTO also deals with another agreement called the SPS Agreement which stands for‘Sanitary and phytosanitary measures’which deals with issues pertaining to food safety, animal and plant health measures.

# The Doha Agreement has set out principles where it has been laid down that the principles adopted by the countries for promoting environmental causes shall be given precedence.

India’s policies in Regulating a balance between Trade and Environment
India has been a pioneer and a promoter of clean energy reforms along with maintaining a consensus between the trade regulations and the environmental policies. It is a party to various agreements pertaining to environment including the Paris Treaty, the Rio Convention, the WTO and the other protocols. As a part of the Paris treaty, and its Domestic Environmental policies and trade policies, India launched the Solar mission in the year 2010 which aims to create a balance between the power consumption while also avoiding environmental pollution while also boosting the local trade scenario through the Make In India Initiative.

In India, the need for solar power energy is optimum and correspondingly, Solar power parks have been established. The ‘Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM)’is the initiative of the Central Government, which aims to provide India with the requisite amount of Solar Energy and has been initiated in the year 2010 along with other initiatives of National Action Plan on Climate Change. The objective of this mission is to establish India as the Global Leader in Solar Energy production and consumption.

Study of the India Specific Issue with relation to the International Conventions: Solar Mission

Empirical Research:
For the purpose of the same, Empirical Research has been conducted and a thorough analysis of this data has been done.

The data of the amount of Energy produced and utilized is as follows:
Details of Solar Parks Sanctioned

Sl. No State Capacity (MW) Name of the Solar Power Parks Developer (SPPD) Land identified at
1 Andhra Pradesh 1500 AP Solar Power Corporation Pvt. Ltd., JVC of SECI, APGENCO and NREDCAP

NP Kunta of Anantpuramu & Galiveedu of Kadapa Districts

2 Andhra Pradesh 1000 Kurnool District
3 Andhra Pradesh 1000 Galiveedu Madal, Kadapa district
4 Andhra Pradesh 500 Talaricheruvu Village, Tadipathri Mandal, Anathapuramu District of Andhra Pradesh
5 Arunachal Pradesh 100 Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (APEDA) Tezu township in Lohit district
6 Assam 69 JVC of APDCL & APGCL Amguri in Sibsagar district
7 Chhattisgarh 500 Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency Rajnandgaon, Janjgir Champa districts
8 Gujarat 700 Gujarat Power Corporation Limited Radhanesda, Vav, Distt. Banaskantha
9 Haryana 500 Saur Urja Nigam Haryana Ltd (SUN Haryana) Bugan in Hisar district, Baralu and Singhani in Bhiwani district and Daukhera Mahindergarh district
10 Himachal Pradesh 1000 HP State Electricity Board Ltd. Spiti Valley of Lahaul & Spiti District
11 Jammu & Kashmir 100 Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency Mohagarh and Badla Brahmana, District- Samba
12 Karnataka 2000 Karnataka Solar Power Development Corporation Pvt. Ltd. Pavagada taluk Tumkur dist.
13 Kerala 200 Renewable Power Corporation of Kerala Limited Paivalike, Meenja, Kinanoor, Kraindalam and Ambalathara villages of Kasargode district
14 Madhya Pradesh 750 Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited Gurh, Rewa, MP
15 Madhya Pradesh 500 Neemuch and Mandsaur

16 Madhya Pradesh 500 Agar and Shajapur
17 Madhya Pradesh 500 Chhattarpur
18 Madhya Pradesh 500 Rajgarh--Morena
19 Maharashtra 500 M/s Pragat Akshay Urja Ltd Sakri, Dhule district of Maharashtra
20 Maharashtra 500 Maharashtra State Electricity Generating Company Ltd. (MAHAGENCO) Dondaicha, district Dhule, Maharashtra
21 Maharashtra 500 M/s K. P. Power Pvt. Ltd Taluka Patoda, district Beed, Maharashtra
22 Meghalaya 20 Meghalaya Power Generation Corporation Ltd (MePGCL) West Jaintia Hills & East Jaintia Hills districts
23 Nagaland 60 Directorate of New & Renewable Energy, Nagaland Dimapur, Kohima and New Peren districts
24 Odisha 1000 Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha Limited Balasore, Keonjhar, Deogarh, Boudh, Kalahandi and Angul
25 Rajasthan 680 Rajasthan Solar Park Development Company Ltd. Bhadla Phase II, Bhadla, Rajasthan
26 Rajasthan 1000 Surya Urja Company of Rajasthan Ltd Bhadla Phase III, Bhadla, Rajasthan
27 Rajasthan 750 M/s Essel Surya Urja Company of Rajasthan Limited Villages Ugraas, Nagnechinagar & Dandhu, tehsil Phalodi, dist Jodhpur (450 MW) and villages Lavan & Purohitsar,
Pokaran, dist Jaisalmer (300 MW) tehsil
28 Rajasthan 500 M/s Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan Limited Bhadla Phase IV, Bhadla, Jodhpur Rajasthan
29 Rajasthan
(421 MW through support of GoI out of 1500 MW) 421 M/s Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan Limited Fatehgarh & Pokaran, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
30 Telangana 500 Telangana Renewable Development Corporation (TNREDC) New & Energy Ltd. Gattu, Mehboob Nagar Distt.
31 Uttar Pradesh 600 Lucknow Solar Power Development Corporation Ltd. Jalaun, Allahabad, Mirzapur and Kanpur Dehat districts
Sl.No State Capacity (MW) Name of the Solar Power Parks Developer (SPPD) Land identified at
32 Uttarakhand 50

State Industrial Development Corporation
Uttarakhand Limited (SIDCUL) Industrial Area, Sitarganj (Phase I), Industrial Area, Sitarganj (Phase II) and Industrial Area, kashipur
33 West Bengal 500 West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. East Mednipur, West Mednipur, Bankura
34 Tamil Nadu 500 To be finalized Initially proposed in Ramanathapuram district. Site under revision
Total 20000

Commissioning Status of Solar Power Projects as 31-03-2017:

Sr. No. State/UT Total cumulative capacity till 31-03-16 (MW) Capacity commissioned in 2016-17 till 31-03-17 (MW) Total cumulative capacity till 31-03-17 (MW)

1 Andaman & Nicobar 5.10 1.46 6.56
2 Andhra Pradesh 572.97 1294.26 1867.23
3 Arunachal Pradesh 0.27 0.00 0.27
4 Assam 0.00 11.78 11.78
5 Bihar 5.10 103.42 108.52
6 Chandigarh 6.81 10.52 17.32
7 Chhattisgarh 93.58 35.28 128.86
8 Dadar & Nagar 0.00 2.97 2.97
9 Daman & Diu 4.00 6.46 10.46
10 Delhi 14.28 25.99 40.27
11 Goa 0.00 0.71 0.71
12 Gujarat 1119.17 130.19 1249.37
13 Haryana 15.39 66.01 81.40
14 Himachal Pradesh 0.20 0.53 0.73
15 J&K 1.00 0.36 1.36
16 Jharkhand 16.19 7.08 23.27
17 Karnataka 145.46 882.38 1027.84
18 Kerala 13.05 61.15 74.20
19 Lakshadweep 0.75 0.00 0.75
20 Madhya Pradesh 776.37 80.67 857.04
21 Maharashtra 385.76 66.61 452.37
22 Manipur 0.00 0.03 0.03
23 Meghalaya 0.00 0.01 0.01
24 Mizoram 0.10 0.00 0.10
25 Nagaland 0.00 0.50 0.50
26 Odisha 66.92 12.50 79.42
27 Puducherry 0.03 0.05 0.08
28 Punjab 405.06 388.89 793.95
29 Rajasthan 1269.93 543.00 1812.93
30 Sikkim 0.00 0.00 0.00
31 Tamil Nadu 527.84 630.01 1691.83
32 Telangana 1061.82 759.13 1286.98
33 Tripura 5.00 0.09 5.09
34 Uttar Pradesh 143.50 193.24 336.73
35 Uttarakhand 41.15 192.35 233.49
36 West Bengal 7.77 18.37 26.14
37 Other/MoR/PSU 58.31 0.00 58.31
6762.85 5525.98 12288.83

The total cumulative capacity of the Solar Power Projects in India till 31stMarch 2016 is 6762.85 MW and this capacity was increased till 9235.24 MW as on 31stJanuary, 2017. This is a result of the efforts of the Indian Government to promote clean Energy as one of their primary Agendas.[3]India commissioned to adjusting 40% of its commissioned capacity from Non – fossil resources by the year 2030 by ratifying the Paris Agreement. The above statistics affirm the efforts being made by India in achieving this objective.

This New capacity addition for 2017 is expected to touch 8.8 GW, a rise of 76% over 2016 thus, making India the third biggest solar market worldwide. About 12.4 GW of the projects have completed auctions and are in execution stages right now. About seven developers have built up project portfolios exceeding 1 GW mark.[4]Report presented by one of the official consultants to the Central Government, the solar power panels’ prices have also been consistently decreasing over the last few years.[5]

Due to such reduction, the majority of the Industries including the Small - scale users have been resorting to the usage of Solar source of energy. Besides this, there has been an initiative that aims to develop a number of Solar Parks across various states in India. The Government of India has sanctioned development of 40,000 MW of solar park infrastructure by the year 2020 with a financial support of 81 billion (US $ 1.2 billion). Solar projects with a total capacity of 8,900 MW have already been allocated in 8 solar parks.[6]India had initiated theJawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM)to ensure that the Solar Energy is manufactured in India and for this purpose had created certain domestic policies vide which the Solar cells that needed to be utilized were purchased in India only. The very objective of the initiative was to ensure a model that promoted holistic growth of the Industry.

Implications of the Solar Mission and International Trade

In India’s issue pertaining to the Solar Power Generation initiative, the central government had laid down certain principles according to which preference had to be given to domestically sourced Solar Cell modules and not those cell modules which were imported to the country. This move, despite being in the interest of the environmental policies is in contravention of the principles of free trade. Therefore, the United States of America which had a vast number solar cell modules producers claimed that this was in violation of the GATT principles and ensured that the local products in India which were of higher value were given preference over the Imported goods which were in fact cheaper.

A dispute was filed against India by the United States of America at the WTO Dispute Settlement Body. The decision was not in favour of India. It was held that India had violated the principles of Article IX under GATT despite its environmental benefits. An appeal was filed by India which was also in favour of the United States of America. The Trade disputes are in fact generally not in favour of the Environmental Aspect as till date not a single Trade restriction based on Article XX has been upheld by the Dispute Panels.[7]

Due to the Solar Panels, not being imported by India, various nations have contended that there have been unnecessary restrictions. The Environmental Implications have been manifold owing to the implications. The total cumulative capacity has been expanded and now India is on the path to being one of the major solar powered nations by the year 2070.

Recommendations and Suggestions
Based on the data procured, studied and analysed, it is accurate to suggest that there has been gross negligence in recognizing the potential of a nation aiming to completely switch to a non - fossil based energy and power source. Due to this an incorrect precedent has been set to the world and It is suggested that:
1. The Bi – lateral and Multi - lateral Trade Agreements be reviewed
2. The domestic rules and sovereignty of the nations be preserved and not violated for the purposes of trade.
3. Environmental friendly measures, pacts and treaties be given precedence.
4. Similar rules be applicable for nations so that disputes pertaining to restrictions in aspects of Environment be applicable.
5. The redundancy and the ineffectiveness of GATT Article XX be remedied.
6. That the Article XX be applied and be upheld in cases where there has been severe environmental degradation.
7. Developing nations be relieved of such restrictions.
8. That the principles of Doha Convention be made binding.
9. Any and all efforts to make non fossil based energy the major source of energy in the world.

Therefore, due to the lack of adequate trade and environmental conventions and provisions, the Solar mission of India has been slowed down and the expected results are to be achieved only by the year 2070. The GATT provisions need to be made more effective and a holistic view is to by ensured to enable better trade and environmental growth at the same time.
The Multi – lateral trade agreements need to be subdued to the sovereign regulations to ensure more effective usage of the domestic policies.

Bibliography, Bridge to India, India Solar Handbook, 2017
P. Leelakrishnan, Environmental Law in India, (Lexis Nexis Publications, 4thEdition, 2016)
Robert L. Glicksman, David L. Markell, William W. Buzbee, Daniel r. Mendelker & Daniel Bodansky, Environmental Protection: Law and Policy (6thEdition, (2011))
Shyam Divan, Armin Rosencranz, Environmental Law and Policy in India, (Oxford India PAperbacks, 2ndEdition, 2014)
WTO, Trade, Development and Environment pt. I (2000), ‘Trade and Environment’ (1999)

[1] Brazil – Retreated Tyres Case
[4],Bridge to India, India Solar Handbook, 2017
[5], Bridge to India, India Solar Handbook, 2017
[6], Bridge to India, India Solar Handbook, 2017
[7] China – Accession Protocol

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