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Business News/ News / India/  Govt vows to end ‘energy poverty’: Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan
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Govt vows to end ‘energy poverty’: Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Goal is to make India self-reliant in energy, says Dharmendra Pradhan

India’s energy demand has almost recovered to pre-covid levels, said Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan.Premium
India’s energy demand has almost recovered to pre-covid levels, said Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

India, one of the world’s top energy consumers, is preparing a road map to achieve Aatmanirbhar Urja or self-reliance in energy, petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Thursday.

The plans for energy security span increased crude oil and natural gas production to hydrogen gas and solar and wind power as it seeks to meet rising domestic demand.

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“On the energy front, we are developing a clear road map of Aatmanirbhar Urja for Aatmanirbhar Bharat. We have to ensure energy justice and end energy poverty in the country. This means more energy to improve the lives of Indians with a smaller carbon footprint," Pradhan said at the foundation week of industry body Assocham.

India—the world’s third-largest crude oil importer and the fourth-largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG)—has set a target of reducing its oil dependence by 10 percentage points to 67% (based on import dependence of 77% in 2014-15) by 2022.

Pradhan said India now consumes just 6% of the world’s primary energy. “Our per capita consumption of energy is about 40% of the global average. This, however, is rapidly changing," he said.

Every dollar per barrel increase in crude prices inflates India’s oil import bill by 10,700 crore on an annualized basis. This can sharply impact the government’s finances and its efforts to control inflation and revive economic growth.

To further its energy security plans, the government is also looking at private investments to boost domestic oil and gas output that has stagnated for the last few years. India relies on imports to meet 83% of its crude oil demand and more than half of its natural gas needs.

“Our energy demand has almost recovered back to pre-covid levels, particularly for petroleum products, on the back of rejuvenation of economic activities. We are confident that this recovery path in energy demand growth in India will sustain in the coming months," Pradhan said.

Some of the strategies adopted to meet the objective of energy security and energy transition include a faster clean energy trajectory and leveraging green hydrogen. Mint reported about the government’s plan to invite bids for setting up green ammonia projects within six months to reduce import dependence. India also plans to launch a National Hydrogen Mission.

India is also pushing for a gas-based economy. Gas comprises about 6.2% of India’s primary energy mix, far behind the global average of 24%. The government plans to increase this share to 15% by 2030. “We have envisaged a spend of $60 billion in creating gas infrastructure till 2024, including for pipelines, LNG terminals and city gas distribution networks," Pradhan said.

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Utpal Bhaskar
"Utpal Bhaskar leads Mint's policy and economy coverage. He is part of Mint’s launch team, which he joined as a staff writer in 2006. Widely cited by authors and think-tanks, he has reported extensively on the intersection of India’s policy, polity and corporate space.
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Updated: 17 Dec 2020, 10:45 PM IST
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