The Rajasthan Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the State’s Solar Energy Policy 2011, which is expected to give a major push to harnessing solar energy in the desert terrain. The policy envisages generation of 1,500 MW power through solar energy by 2013-14 with an investment of Rs.15,000 crore from the private sector.
“Rajasthan is a front runner in solar energy. With the new Solar Energy Policy, the State will scale new heights in harnessing the sun energy and also attracting investments from the private sector,” Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said briefing newspersons after the Cabinet meeting.
The formulation of a separate policy on solar energy was one of the announcements made by Mr. Gehlot while presenting the State’s annual Budget for the year 2010-11. Thereafter a working group headed by Additional Chief Secretary prepared the solar policy after consulting experts and collecting public opinion.
Mr. Gehlot said the new policy would facilitate an additional 3,000 MW generation capacity to the State between 2014-15 and 2017-18. “Many private investors have shown keen interest in setting up solar power generation units in Rajasthan and by 2018 we expect an investment of Rs.20,000 crore in the sector,” he observed. The policy also outlines a plan for establishing manufacturing centres of solar energy equipment of 500 MW capacity by 2013-14 with an investment of Rs. 2,000 crore.
Though not a Cabinet decision, Mr.Gehlot on the occasion also announced the appointment of former Minister and former Rajasthan PCC president B. D. Kalla as the chairman of the Fourth Rajasthan Finance Commission. The Commission, which devolves the funds to the panchayati raj organizations and civic bodies, will have BJP MLA Rajpal Singh and J.P. Chandelia, who retired as the State’s Information Commissioner recently, as members. P.L.Agarwal will be the Member Secretary of the Commission.
The Cabinet cleared the policy for allotment of land at concession to public, social and charitable institutions and decided to name the Rajasthan Ayurveda University at Jodhpur after the late President of India and scholar Sarvapally Radhakrishnan. The other decisions included green signal to a thermal power station of a proposed 1,200 MW capacity in the private sector in Banswara. The project, to come up with an investment of Rs.5, 000 crores, is expected to generate 3,000 jobs.
A proposal to register a society — Rajasthan Forestry and Bio Diversity Protection Society — to implement the second phase of the Japanese aided forest and eco-development programmes was cleared by the Cabinet. It also decided to set up a Group of Ministers to discuss the proposed amendments in the Rajasthan Nursing Council Act 1964.