International Women’s day is just around the corner, 8th March. As we prepare to celebrate this day, it is important that we take some time to examine one of the main problems for rural women in India, access to clean cooking. Clean cooking continues to be a luxury for rural women.
Integrated energy policy is of vital importance to India’s future. The need for such an integrated energy policy was first highlighted by the erstwhile Planning Commission in 2006 in its expert committee report on integrated energy policy. Without such an integrated outlook, matching India’s exploding energy demand with its limited energy supply options will be a tightrope walk.
The future of global energy is in clean energy. In 2015, for the first time, the addition to power sector capacity by renewable sources exceeded those by all other sources (WEO, 2016). Technological advancements are fast transforming the way energy is produced and consumed. India needs to join the cavalcade of change.
India needs lots of energy for its economy to grow. Due to our drive to replace non-commercial energy with more convenient fuels, which are usually commercial ones, our elasticity of energy demand to GDP-a common measure of how energy demand responds to economic growth- is high. Nearly 25% of our total energy demand is met by non-commercial energy (mainly biomass).
More than two-thirds of rural India uses solid biomass for cooking with its attendant harmful effects on health [National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), 68th Round]. In parallel, the country aims to achieve universal electrification by 2022. Theoretically, if electric cooktops were adopted, universal electrification could translate into universal clean cooking as well!
In December, 2015 NITI Aayog signed a collaboration framework with Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. It followed up in March, 2016, with a similar arrangement with International Energy Agency, Paris. Another tie-up is in the offing — this time with Energy Information Administration, USA.