'Energy for Sustainable Growth' is inspired by our ancient traditions and is also the means to fulfill the needs and aspirations of the future. India has a clear vision that sustainable growth is possible only through sustainable energy sources. In Glasgow, we promised to reach net-zero (emissions) by 2070.
In COP26 also, I talked about the LIFE Mission to promote a sustainable lifestyle by putting forward the vision of Lifestyle for Environment. We are also leading global collaborations such as the International Solar Alliance. Our target for non-fossil energy capacity is 500 GW. By 2030, we have to achieve 50 percent of our installed energy capacity from non-fossil energy. I do not see India’s goals as a challenge but as an opportunity. India has been continuing with this vision for the past several years and has taken forward this at the policy level in this year’s budget.
In this year’s budget, 19,500 crore rupees have been announced for high-efficiency solar module manufacturing in the direction of solar energy. This will help in making India a global hub in the manufacturing and R&D of solar modules and related products.
We have also announced the National Hydrogen Mission. India has an inherent advantage in the form of abundant renewable energy power. India can become the hub of Green Hydrogen in the world. The hydrogen ecosystem is interconnected with the fertilizer, refinery and transportation sectors. This is an area in which the private sector should promote innovations so that India's full potential can be utilized.
Energy storage is a big challenge with renewable energy. In order to find solutions, priority has been given to this year’s budget to maintain growth in the storage capacity. Provisions have also been made in this year's budget regarding battery swapping policy and interoperability standards. This will reduce the problems faced by electric vehicles in India. Plug-in charging takes more time and is costly also. Since a battery costs 40-50% of the total value of an electric vehicle, swapping will reduce the upfront cost of an electric vehicle. Similarly, there are many possibilities in this fieldwhether it is mobile battery or solar power storage. I think we can all work together in this regard.
Along with energy production, energy conservation is equally important for sustainability. I think a lot needs to be done about how to develop more energy-efficient ACs, heaters, geysers, ovens, etc.Manufacturing of energy-efficient products should be our priority wherever the consumption of electricity is high.
I'll give you an example. The cost of LED bulbs in the country used to be Rs 300-400 when our government came to power in 2014. Our government increased the production of LED bulbs and naturally its prices came down to Rs 70-80. We distributed about 37 crore LED bulbs in the country under the Ujala scheme. As a result, about forty-eight thousand million kilowatt hours of electricity have been saved. Our poor and middle-class are saving 20,000 crore rupees annually in electricity bills.Also, about 40 million tonnes of carbon emissions have been reduced annually. We also replaced the traditional street lights with 125 crore smart LED bulbs. Our local bodies, municipalities, municipal corporations, and panchayats saved 6,000 crore rupees annually in electricity bills by replacing street lights with LED bulbs. This has also saved electricity and about five million tonnes of carbon emissions have also been reduced. You can imagine how one scheme has protected the environment at such a scale.
We can consider coal gasification as an alternative to coal. In this year's budget, four pilot projects have been introduced for coal gasification which will strengthen technical and financial viability. It requires innovation. I would like the people involved in this field to come up with innovation in coal gasification according to the needs of India.
Similarly, the government is also promoting ethanol blending in a mission mode. Extra Differential Excise Duty has been provisioned on unblended fuel in this year’s budget. We need to modernize our sugar mills and distilleries and they need to upgrade technology. We have to work on such distilling processes from which we also get additional by-products like potash and compressed biogas.
A few weeks ago, I inaugurated Gobar-Dhan plants in Varanasi and Indore. Can the private sector set up 500 or 1,000 such Gobar-Dhan plants in the next two years? I think the industry needs to make innovative investments to utilize these possibilities.
Our energy demand is going to escalate. Therefore, the transition towards renewable energy is even more important for India. It is estimated that there are 24-25 crore houses in India. How do we advance clean cooking? I think our start-ups can carry this forward very easily. There is also a huge market for solar stoves, which is necessary for the clean-cooking movement. A successful experiment was done in Gujarat where we installed canal-top solar panels. It reduced the cost of land, water was saved and electricity was also generated. In short, there were multiple benefits. Similar experiments are now being held in rivers and lakes elsewhere in the country. We should promote this further.
Another thing can be done at home. Can we develop a gardening concept where families can have a solar tree in their gardens and balconies which can generate 10-20 percent of electricity? That house will also create its own identity as a solar tree house and will be known as the house of environmentally- conscious citizens. This way, we can develop a special credible society. And it can also be made very easily and beautifully. Therefore, I would urge builders and architects to think about the solar tree concept in the construction of houses.
Micro-hydel gadgets are also found in abundance in our country. We find a lot of waterwheelscalled ‘Gharat’ in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. More research is needed on micro-hydel gadgets to increase power generation. The world is facing a shortage of natural resources. In such a situation, a circular economy is the need of the hour and it has to be made an essential part of life. Innovation is very important for us in every field and new products are necessary. I assure the private sector of the country that the government is standing with you in your efforts.
With united efforts, we will not only achieve our goals in this direction, but will also guide the entire humanity.
There is usually a lot of discussions before the budget is prepared. Our TV channels and other media are very engaged in it and there is a good discussion which also benefitsin the preparation of the budget. Many good ideas come up while preparing the budget. But now we are focused (on the implementation of the budget). The budget has been presented and there won’t be any changes. It is now the property of the parliament and it will decide. We have two months to implement the budget from April 1. How do we use these two months to focus on the roadmap for budget implementation and how to implement the proposals in the best way possible?
There is a vast difference between the way the government thinks and the way the business world operates in the field. Efforts should be made to bridge that gap in this seminar. There should not be any contradiction in the thinking process between the stakeholders and the decision-makers in the government. There should be no gap in it. If we can ensure this, then many issues can be implemented quickly. But sometimes, it takes six to eight months to correct some anomaly in the file notings and by that time the budget period is over.
We want to avoid these mistakes. The government’s purpose behind these seminars is not to tutor you or make you aware of the contours of the budget. You know it better than us. We hold webinars to listen to you. We don’t want suggestions for the budget which has already been prepared. How can we implement it quickly and in the best way for better outcomes? There should be no unnecessary delays. Therefore, I want you to make this webinar successful by suggesting concrete practical examples.
I wish you the very best. Thank you very much.