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

Sustainability pushed ahead in Budget 2019, but deeper reforms needed for the energy transition: Arunabha Ghosh

"The Hon'ble Finance Minister has made several announcements that push the sustainability agenda forward. A continuing emphasis on extending cooking energy and electricity access to all households is welcome. Connections are not enough, what matters is the quality of energy received. It is particularly encouraging to see the attention given to rural business incubators and the desire to support rural entrepreneurs. CEEW's research finds that there is a $50 billion-plus opportunity in using distributed clean energy to support farm and non-farm rural enterprises. The intention to scale up zero-budget farming also brings into focus CEEW's research that highlights the links between zero-budget natural farming and the Sustainable Development Goals. But water recharge and reuse efforts, as the Minister mentions, should be part of a much broader agenda to reform water governance in the country," said Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW, after the announcement of India's Union Budget 2019.

"On sustainable industrial development, the ambitions for electric mobility and EV manufacturing are laudable but much would depend on how quickly the charging infrastructure is deployed and how easily the tax and loan interest benefits accrue to consumers. Moreover, loans and interest subvention for MSMEs could be linked to investments in energy and resource efficiency. CEEW research finds that cost of energy is a critical reason for weakening international competitiveness of many smaller enterprises. Financial incentives should help them become more resource efficient. That said, without deeper power sector reforms and continued focus on renewable energy deployment (surprisingly missing mention in the Budget), the energy transition for India will not gain momentum," he added.

5 July 2019