India unveils new integrated policy for energy security

December 26th, 2008 - 7:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 26 (IANS) India Friday unveiled a new integrated policy that spells out a roadmap to ensure 5.8 percent annual growth in primary energy supplies, seen as crucial to sustain a healthy expansion of the country’s economy.”India needs to sustain an economic growth of at least 9 percent over the next 25 years if it is to eradicate poverty and meet its larger human development goals,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters, explaining the focus of the new policy.

“Meeting energy requirements of this growth in a sustainable manner presents a difficult challenge and one that has become more formidable following the steep rise in international energy prices since 2006,” he said.

“It is necessary to evolve an integrated policy that provides a coherent framework covering different energy sources in a consistent manner,” Chidambaram said after a meeting of the cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the policy.

Drafted by the Planning Commission, the policy aims at optimal exploitation of domestic energy resources, as also acquisition of energy assets abroad to attain energy security for the country, while advocating appropriate pricing of fuels to promote investment.

Chidambaram said the policy also calls for setting up a monitoring committee chaired by the cabinet secretary to review the progress of implementation of energy programmes.

“The broad vision behind the integrated energy policy is to reliably meet the demand for services of all sectors, including the lifeline energy needs of vulnerable households in all parts of the country with safe, clean and convenient energy at the least-cost.”

The other salient points of the new policy include:

- Appropriate fiscal measures to tackle emerging issues

- Independent regulation to counter anti-competitive market behaviour

- Tax structure for each energy sector be made consistent with overall energy policy

- Ensure level playing field to all players whether public or private

- Uniform tax structure across the country and across products

- Subsidies be made transparent and targeted

- Promote energy-efficiency and enforce energy standards effectively

- Autonomy for state-run units in energy sector with full accountability

- Promote technologies that conserve and maximise energy efficiency

- Ensure competitive energy market push efficiency and attract investment

- A phased adjustment of domestic fuel prices to reflect market prices

- Coal pricing be left to the market, with free trading

- For natural gas, pricing be determined through competition among producers

- Reduce technical and commercial losses in transmission and distribution

- Promote fuel wood plantations, bio-gas plants, bio-diesel and ethanol

- Set-up a national energy fund to finance research

- Maintain reserves equivalent to 90 days of supplies

- Acquire energy assets abroad and set up fertiliser units in energy rich countries

- Provide electricity to all rural households and clean cooking energy to all within 10 years

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