Providing affordable and accessible energy to every citizen while ensuring energy security has been the cornerstone of India’s energy policy. Over the years, this policy has been shaped by numerous socio-economic and political factors including the dichotomy between a nationalised Indian energy sector (upstream and downstream) and a more ‘liberated’ economy; centre-state relations; a rising middle class and ending energy and economic poverty. In recent years, technological changes and global developments on climate change have also played a role. Compared to India, most large nations faced the pressure of climate mitigation very late in their development path, meaning there is no proven pathway for development in climate change and sustainability that India can follow. How then can India direct its energy sector towards a low-carbon economy?

Make Clear Plans While Deregulating
Since India junked the central planning model, the ministries dealing with energy have put out several contradictory or competing targets and policies.  These include the scaling up of electric vehicles to 100% of new stock by 2030; expanding refinery capacity to 400 million tonnes by 2030; increasing coal production to one billion tonnes by 2020; and changing the Renewable Energy (RE) targets almost every year. The lack of clarity on decision making and coordination often led to backtracking of policies (like in the case of electric vehicles) or changing goal posts (like the case of rooftop solar installation). The central government needs to provide cues to the market in the form of constant, clear and concise policies and legislation within a multiple objectives framework.

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