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GSBB proposes ‘Green Tax’ on tourism to combat climate change  Anwesha Ghosh

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Panaji: The Goa State Biodiversity Board (GSBB) in a recent report has proposed to levy ‘eco-tax’ or ‘Green Tax’ at tourists’ places with an aim to combat climate change. Highlighting that Goa attracts a large number of tourist crowds, said that the tax would help in mitigation of climate change.

In its State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) report the GSBB, “Tourism is the major industrial sector in Goa. Every year, tourists visiting Goa are almost four to five times the population of Goa. Eco-tax or Green tax to combat climate change is proposed to assist in mitigation and adaptation activities of the areas which are most frequently visited by the tourist. Such taxation models are under implementation in countries like Spain,”

In order to put this proposal in place the GSBB has also emphasized that the system can be developed based on the tourist’s standard of accommodation. “As a next step, the institutional structure would need to be established to develop a functional model for taxation and its appropriate utilization. Appropriate mechanism, time frame and other modalities will be worked out by the tourism department,” it further stated.

Moreover, with concerns in relation to implementation of SAPCC and Institutional Mechanism for Implementation the GSBB stated that the “implementation could involve multiple stakeholders through their projects but as decided and approved by the State level steering committee for climate change for National adaptation fund for climate change (SLSC for NAFCC), initially two model projects could be developed in Goa in two districts wherein maximum convergence of climate change related interventions could be exemplified. The project concept note in this regard has been approved.”

It also informed that for the implementation mechanism “a state nodal agency on climate change will be formed in the Department of Environment and Climate Change for which will serve as the climate change secretariat for the State of Goa. Secretariat will be headed by a senior government officer and will comprise resources with a background in climate change and understanding of Goa’s local context. It will be supported by experts in climate change, from within and/or outside the state. Other staff as needed for the effective functioning of the secretariat shall be identified.”

WHAT IS GREEN TAX?

Green tax  or Eco tax is levied on activities that harm the environment and the revenue gained from it is used to ensure sustainable development. Environmental tax reform (ETR) is an important and integral part of a sustainable development strategy. ETR is an effective way of integrating economic, social and environmental costs into the price of goods and services while creating incentives for sustainable practices, according to the United Nations.

Many countries across the world including Spain and Maldives levy green tax on tourism activities. In India, several forest reserves in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh levy green tax on tourists entering protected areas.

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