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Blessy asked: Is the Integrated Energy Policy of India sufficient to meet its energy demand?

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  • Shebonti Ray Dadwal replies: This is a strange question. The Integrated Energy Policy (IEP) of 2006 was intended to provide a road map for a holistic and long-term approach to India's energy policy -- as opposed to the hitherto ad hocism that pervaded energy planning and strategy. Till the IEP, India had no overarching energy policy as such, and ministries were looking at various aspects of energy -- oil and gas, coal, power, renewable energy, etc., as separate and distinct from one another, and sometimes were even at odds with each other. The IEP was the first attempt to look at energy policy in a holistic manner. Whether it succeeded is doubtful. Like the recommendations made by earlier committees, the recommendations of the IEP have remained just that without few if any of them being put into practice. One of the main problems that have been identified as a barrier to enhancing energy security is the pricing policy and system of subsidies that are provided in several areas of the energy sector - oil, power, water, renewable energy, coal, etc. This deters investment from the private sector, both domestic and foreign, and denies access to state-of-the-art technology. It also leads to pricing discrepancy and black marketeering, as well as losses to PSUs across the board. It certainly does not add to energy security; on the contrary, it contributes to energy insecurity.

    More specifically, some of the recommendations of the IEP have been criticised as being unrealistic and given to populism. So, in short, while the IEP was a noteworthy attempt at looking at energy security in a holistic manner, it has not really added to India's energy security.