From more than a decade, the transport department of Karnataka is collecting a special tax named ‘green tax’. The money collected via this tax is for implementing various measures to reduce and control air pollution. 

 

The department levy this green tax on old vehicles that have completed a period of 15 years at the time of the renewal of their registration certificate. Two-wheelers are charged ₹250, and other non-transport vehicles are charged ₹500. Also, those vehicles that have completed seven years are levied with a charge of ₹200 per annum. This tax is collected since the month of April 2002.

 

However, according to a recent report by Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Karnataka state finances for the year 2016 shows that the transport department has improperly accounted the green tax and also that the money has not been used.

 

According to this report, there is no uniformity in the accounting of the green tax transactions, and also the receipts of this tax do not vary from the receipts of other charges. 

 

Interestingly, the report discloses that from the financial year 2006-07 to 2014-15, the tax collected by the transport department was ₹45.9 crore. For the first two years since the department levied the green tax, the department does not have any data of collection and expenditure. Also, the report states that there is no concrete action plan to use the money. 

 

₹45.9 crore is a considerable amount of money that certainly can be utilised for a number of environmental projects to reduce air pollution. However, apparently, the transport department responsible for green tax collection seems to have a plan to collect the fund but not to use it. 

 

The utilisation of the green tax money is still a far-fetched question considering the fact that the department does not even deem it necessary to keep a record of the collection of funds under the pretext of green tax.