Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent
Water Governance

The Council’s research on water governance evaluates water management and security across all sectors - agricultural, industrial, and municipal. Our work on water governance includes the 584-page National Water Resources Framework Study for India’s 12th Five Year Plan; irrigation reform for Bihar; Swachh Bharat; supporting India’s National Water Mission; collective action for water security; mapping India’s traditional water bodies; modelling water-energy nexus; circular economy of water; participatory irrigation management in South Asia; domestic water conflicts; modelling decision making at the basin-level; rainwater harvesting; and multi-stakeholder initiatives for urban water management. The National Water Resources Framework Study was ranked among the world’s top policy studies produced by a think-tank by the 2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index.


Sustainable Agriculture

Our team sees sustainable agriculture as the means to promote the efficient use of resources, improve soil health, build resilience to extreme climatic events, and improve farmer incomes. The Council is currently evaluating the impact of Zero Budget Natural Farming in the state of Andhra Pradesh and is supporting the state government to scale-up this sustainable practice. Agriculture is the primary occupation for nearly half of India’s population. Nearly 70 per cent are marginal farmers, owning less than one hectare of land.


Climate Risks & Adaptation

Our team envisions a future when institutions, infrastructure, economies, and people are insulated from the risks of a changing climate. India and many other developing countries are most vulnerable to climate change. The Council’s research on climate risks and adaptation focuses on global climate risk assessments, climate-resilient cities, impacts of heat stress on human health, and climate adaptation finance. Our researchers recommend applying the principles of risk assessment to climate change, broadening participation in the climate risk assessment process (beyond just climate scientists) and reporting to the highest decision making authorities at the national and international levels.


Air Quality

The Council’s research on improving air quality focuses on achieving India’s ambient air quality standards, tackling crop-burning in Punjab through promoting conservation agriculture for stubble management, developing low-cost sensors for monitoring and regulation, and communicating health risks of air pollution to citizens. In 2015, during phase one of the Delhi government’s odd-even experiment, The Council conducted an independent evaluation by measuring air quality and traffic volumes at five key locations across New Delhi. Air pollution, the biggest environmental health risk, is responsible for more than half a million deaths annually in India.

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Risks & Adaptation

Risks & Adaptation

The Risks and Adaptation team examines both local and global environmental risks in order to develop strategies to mitigate them. The team analyses the impact of climate risks on health, agriculture and urban infrastructure, the links between clean energy and water, other human development priorities, and designs effective responses to air and water pollution related problems.

  • 200

    billion USD estimated cost of crops that will be lost in India by 2050 due to global warming
    Source: CEEW Analysis 2015
  • 1.8 billion

    people in South Asia are likely to face chronic water shortage by 2050
    Source: CEEW Analysis 2015
  • 80%

    of water supply to municipalities flows back into the ecosystem as untreated wastewater
    Source: CEEW Analysis 2016
  • The study on India’s adaptation gap reflects the deep insights of authors on this complex subject.

    Ashok Lavasa

    Election Commissioner of India

  • I congratulate CEEW for their efforts and hope this report on climate risk will trigger a public debate and help begin a process of continuous risk assessment.

    S Ramadorai

    Chairman, National Skill Development Agency and National Skill Development Corporation; Trustee, CEEW

  • I am sure that CEEW’s study will serve as an important reference document for different stakeholders in their endeavour towards providing adequate and safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities for India’s urban population.

    Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia

    Chairperson, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations

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Our Risks & Adaptation Team


Zero Budget Natural Farming for Sustainable Development GoalsAndhra Pradesh, India

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January 2018 |

Citation: Saurabh Tripathi, Shruti Nagbhushan, and Tauseef Shahidi (2018) 'Zero Budget Natural Farming for the Sustainable Development Goals: Andhra Pradesh, India' CEEW Issue Brief, January



This issue brief maps the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of the Government of Andhra Pradesh’s (GoAP) Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) programme vis-à-vis the Sustainable Development Goals. Once rolled out across the state, ZBNF could help Andhra Pradesh and India make significant progress towards almost a quarter of the 169 SDG targets.

ZBNF is a low-input, climate-resilient type of farming that encourages farmers to use low-cost locally-sourced inputs, eliminating the use of artificial fertilisers and industrial pesticides. ZBNF inputs are natural concoctions, inoculums and decoctions prepared with cow dung, cow urine, jaggery, lilac, green chillies, and other such natural ingredients.

On 25 January 2018, Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu, and UN Environment’s Executive Director, Mr Erik Solheim, released our issue brief ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming for the Sustainable Development Goals: Andhra Pradesh, India' on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

(L-R) Arunabha Ghosh, Erik Solheim and Chandrababu Naidu during the release of our ZBNF issue brief in Davos (Source: CEEW)

ZBNF techniques have shown preliminary evidence of improving resilience of farmlands and crops against extreme weather events. During a bout of cyclonic winds in Vishakhapatnam in 2017, anecdotal records from farmers show that ZBNF paddy withstood the winds and water-logging better than the adjacent non-ZBNF paddy fields. Some ZBNF farmers have also reported a reduction in their yield loss during droughts, owing to improved soil fertility and strength.

Source: CEEW Analysis

Key Highlights

  • In over two years, the programme has been rolled out to 138,000 farmers across all 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh, bringing almost 150,000 acres of agricultural land under the ZBNF model of agriculture.
  • Initial indications from the ground suggest that farmers practicing ZBNF in Andhra Pradesh could experience a decline in their input costs and an improvement in their yields.
  • The programme at scale could generate significant rural employment opportunities across the agricultural value chain.
  • Andhra Pradesh’s ZBNF programme offers 50 percent financial support to the 'poorest of the poor' farmers for adopting ZBNF.
Adopting Zero Budget Natural Farming holds the potential to reinvigorate rural economies, reduce credit risks for farmers, and help agricultural families to allocate greater resources for education, health, and financial security.

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Powering Primary Healthcare through Solar in IndiaLessons from Chhattisgarh

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August 2017 | ,

Citation: Aditya Ramji, Sasmita Patnaik, Sunil Mani, and Hem H. Dholakia (2017) ‘Powering Primary Healthcare through Solar in India: Lessons from Chhattisgarh’, August



This first-of-its-kind independent study, funded by Oxfam India, evaluates the role of electricity access on health outcomes in rural Chhattisgarh. The study establishes a strong correlation between sustainable development goals, focusing on good health and well-being (Goal 3), and focusing on affordable and clean energy (Goal 7). The study is based on an evaluation of 147 primary healthcare centres (PHCs), including 83 having solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, across 15 districts in Chhattisgarh.

District-wise snapshot of power-deficit PHCs

District-wise snapshot of power-deficit PHCs (CEEW Analysis)

Key Findings

  • Of the functional PHCs in India, 4.6 per cent are unelectrified, affecting over 38 million rural households.
  • One out of every two PHCs in the country suffers from unreliable power supply or has no electricity access at all.
  • Despite being a power surplus state, one-third of the PHCs in Chhattisgarh are either un-electrified or without regular power supply.
  • About 90 per cent of PHCs reported power cuts during peak operating hours. One-third of the PHCs experienced power cuts in the evening. More than 21 per cent of the PHCs reported damage of medical equipment due to voltage fluctuations.
  • Solar provided a reliable power backup to PHCs, especially during peak load hours and after sundown. It could potentially be a primary mode of power supply.
  • Ninety per cent of the solar-powered PHCs reported cost savings from using solar PV systems over diesel generators. Diesel power costs INR 24-26 per kWh while solar plus battery costs around INR 12-14 per kWh.
  • The ability of solar-powered PHCs to operate cold chain equipment for storing vaccines and drugs, and newborn care equipment improved significantly.
  • Higher comfort due to better lighting and running fans increased patients’ willingness to get admitted.
  • Solar-powered PHCs admitted over 50 per cent more patients and conducted twice the number of child deliveries in a month compared to power-deficit PHCs without a solar system.
  • One-fourth of power-deficit PHCs rely exclusively on solar as a backup to run cold chain equipment.
  • Providing solar (5 kW systems) to all PHCs, Sub-Centres and Community Health Centres across India could contribute to about 415 MW of the rooftop target.
Solar for healthcare is an opportunity to simultaneously address the (often competing) goals of energy access, energy security, resource management, and health outcomes.

A Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in Mandir Hasaud, Chhattisgarh (CEEW)

Key Recommendations

  • Include electricity access as a critical component in health infrastructure while drafting policies.
  • Augment electricity supply with solar systems. Give priority to power-deficit health facilities, especially those providing 24x7 services.
  • Tailor solar system designs based on local needs and considerations, and equip PHCs with off-grid solar systems.
  • Conduct regular monitoring and repair of all systems
  • Scale solar across health centres in India to meet the targets of both the National Solar Mission (NSM) and the National Health Mission (NHM).

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Gauging Our Big Bets In 2018

Business World, January 2018