NEW DELHI: A new report by Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), an European environmental non-profit has assessed the spending of seven economically powerful countries on fossil fuel subsidies and health costs associated with fossil fuel subsidies. India, according to the report spent as much as $16.9 billion on oil, gas and coal subsidies in 2013 and 2014 but health costs to meet the burden of air pollution linked diseases is eight times the fossil fuel subsidies at 140.7 billion dollars.
The report “Hidden Price Tags” highlights that India can provide 375 million households with solar lamps or train nearly 32,000 extra doctors for rural areas with the fossil fuel subsidy spending of $16.9 billion annually. This is assessed considering that each solar lamp costs about $22.5, and All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS’) recent estimates suggest a cost of Rs 1.7 crore to educate a doctor. The subsidy amount could even fund 24% of the total money needed to implement health care coverage for all Indians, the report suggests.