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Energy- Key Driver of Socio-Economic Growth

India needs a robust and healthy energy sector as its energy demand is set to double by 2040.

How important is the energy sector for development?

1. Sufficient supply of energy is needed to meet the steadily rising demands.

2. Access to affordable, stable and sustainable energy supply is essential for maintaining a high growth trajectory.

3. Energy enables the benefits of economic growth to trickle down to the bottom of the pyramid.

4. Energy consumption is linked to the rise in the Human Development Index.

5. UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 “Access to Clean and Affordable Energy” helps in the achievement of other SDGs pertaining to gender equality, poverty elimination, clean water and sanitation, and environmental sustainability.

What is the present status of the energy sector in India?

1. The Saubhagya scheme was launched in 2017 targeting universal electrification and has covered more than 99% of rural households to date.

2. UDAY scheme was launched for financial revival of discoms.

3. But, more than one-quarter of India’s population still lack an electricity connection.

4. The electricity connection in many areas is still sporadic.

5. Along with this, India is aiming to increase its renewables capacity with a target of achieving 175GW by 2022.

6. So, it is important that the bulk of energy generated sustainably cuts down carbon emissions.

Which are the sectors/areas dependent on energy access?

1. Commerce and industry.

2. Manufacturing sector – for machinery and advanced technology

3. On a micro level, higher labor productivity depends on better energy access.

4. Government flagship schemes like Make in India.

5. Agriculture sector – for better irrigation, mechanized ploughing and harvesting and ensuring a wider market for their output.

6. Energy access has the potential to influence women’s health, education, finance, etc.

a) 7 crore households have been benefitted with access to clean cooking gas under the Ujjawala Yojana.

b) Solar-powered schools in rural India have given young girls the opportunity to pursue quality modern education.

7. Water sector – Energy is essential for water extraction, treatment and distribution.

8. Heath sector – Hospitals require energy for lighting, ventilation, various clinical processes, etc.

9. Energy access is important for the growth of tech-enabled services like telemedicine and mobile health applications.

Why is the use of renewable energy important?

1. It contributes to a cleaner and healthier planet for the future.

2. It reduces dependence on fossil fuels that emit harmful greenhouse gases.

3. It results in an improvement in socio-economic parameters like education, health, employment opportunities, etc.

4. It plays a greater role in poverty alleviation and improving quality of life.

Where is the road ahead?

1. Development can’t take place without proper access to energy.

2. And sustainable energy can yield major socio-economic benefits.

3. So, universal energy access that is sustainable and inclusive, will allow all sections of the society to benefit from economic growth.