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Business News/ News / India/  India plans electricity push for cooking

New Delhi: In a major push for India’s energy security efforts, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is planning to leverage electricity for cooking, according to power and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh.

This shift to induction cooking will not only bring the government closer to delivering on its promise to improve energy access, it will also generate fresh demand for electricity in the country—the lack of which is weighing down the entire power sector. The government plans to provide induction stoves to poor households in rural and urban India, as reported by Mint earlier.

“Electricity is the future of India and most of its infrastructure will be powered by electricity. The Government has envisaged Power Foundation to be formed at the Ministry’s level, including cooking to completely run on electricity, which will allow our economy to be self-reliant and give us independence from imports. This government is for the poor and this move will help the poor strata of the society by giving them access to cheaper medium of cooking," said Singh according to a NTPC statement.

The announcement comes in the backdrop of utilities looking to develop ‘round-the-clock’ power supply, that may help bring down the electricity price for consumers and provide on-demand power from wind and solar projects. This assumes significance given India running what will become the world’s largest clean energy programme with an aim of having 175 GW of clean energy capacity by 2022 as part of its global climate change commitments.

“R.K. Singh today said that the government is aiming to harness electricity for cooking in a big way as it will provide the poor strata of the society a cheaper option for their day to day requirement, move the nation towards self-reliance and make it independent from imports," according to a NTPC statement.

This will help reduce import of fossil fuels and generate fresh demand for electricity and consequently support underutilized power plants. Any substitution of fuels for cooking and heating will improve India’s per capita power consumption of around 1,200kWh, which is among the lowest in the world.

India, the world’s third largest crude oil importer spent $111.9 billion on oil imports in FY19. Apart from a threat of supply shocks, every dollar per barrel increase in crude prices, ups India’s import bill by Rs10,700 crore on an annualized basis.

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing an unprecedented economic disruption, India’s power demand that had nosedived is slowly getting to its pre-lockdown levels. To be sure, India’s peak electricity demand has been low due to issues such as the precarious finances of some state-owned electricity distribution companies, which prevents them from procuring the required quantum of power.

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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: 13 Sep 2020, 10:02 PM IST
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