Shifting focus on sustainable development and infrastructure creation, the Economic Survey
this year called for resource optimisation and energy efficiency.
The Survey has suggested that India, like several countries such as the United Kingdom and Iceland, should invest in resource efficiency through recycling, reusing, minimising consumption and reducing wastage.
In its first stint, the BJP-led central government had initiated and rechristened several schemes for energy access, notably Saubhagya for household electrification and Ujjwala for free LPG connections. Around 71.8 million LPG connections have been provided under the Ujjwala scheme and 99 per cent households were electrified under Saubhagya till April 2019.
The Survey lauded these schemes for their impact, but noted that as India aggressively looked to push energy access, it would exert pressure on the environment and raise sustainability concerns. To address this, the Survey suggested setting up a national coordinating body — the bureau of resource efficiency (BRE) between various ministries.
“Various studies have analysed the economic impact of effective RE strategy and identified that Rs 6,000 crore can be saved in the manufacturing sector. Effective waste management policies can generate 1.4 million jobs and nearly $2.7 billion opportunity can be created from the extraction of 8 million tonne of steel from the end of life vehicles,” the Survey said.
To push the agenda for resource efficiency, the Survey has asked for the formulation of a national policy on the same.
Additionally, it has asked for a policy on sustainable public procurement to minimise consumption of resources, reduce waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as, contribute to innovationin the space of RE.
The Indian government is already running various energy efficiency programmes alongside access schemes.
Energy efficiency programmes have generated cost savings worth more than Rs 50,000 crore and a reduction of about 110 million tonne of CO2 emissions in 2017-18, the Survey noted.
Among the energy efficiency measures suggested, the Survey said India would need a comprehensive energy policy taking into consideration the economies of coal and renewable. It also said renewable energy needs of $250 billion investment over the next decade.