To tackle challenges of energy security within an integrated and holistic policy framework, do India need a specific "Energy Security and Responsibility Act" and a separate "department of energy resources and sustainability" Department/Ministry. Discuss it merits and demerits of the step.
Hint/Model Answer –
Energy is the basic requirement for any countries both economic and social development and India is an energy scarce country in terms of energy resources. It is highly dependent upon imported resources like crude oil and natural gas. Even different energy resources are compartmentalised under different ministries and departments thus a holistic view and operational action plan of India’s energy security is appear to difficult implement.
To meet the demands of the public for access to clean and affordable energy on one hand, and its commitment at COP 21 to reduce carbon emissions by 30-35 per cent by 2030 on the other, government need to converge the variegated objectives regarding coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewable into an integrated operational plan.
For this to happen, the idea of a specific “energy security and responsibility act” and a separate “department of energy resources and sustainability” in the PMO seems a good suggestion to explore.
The step can have the following merit:
A new department with executive authority will ensure energy sector is reinvigorated.
It will provide a common platform to implement, monitor and review various energy projects.
It will ensure determination to tackle energy security within an integrated and holistic policy framework that focuses not just on energy but also its broader inter-linkages with food, water, environment, technology, infrastructure, conservation and efficiencies.
It may provide systemic overhaul by restructuring existing departments and a minister of energy appointed with overall responsibility for all sources of energy.
It would harness the combined balance sheet of “India energy Inc.” to support the competitiveness of the public sector’s international initiatives.
It would nurture technical talent; develop technology partnerships and incubate new ideas to invigorate clean energy innovation and act as the “energy regulator”. To build a cadre of specialised regulators and to act as the arbiter between the centrally appointed regulators and their state counter parts.
However, there are certain demerits which need to lessen
It would not be easy to restructure all ministries related to energy as it may involve parliamentary opposition and hurdles.
It may centralise the power in single body thus impede the idea of decentralised energy use planning.
Power of ministries may be usurped under PMO which may be disruptive.
Though India needs a holistic and integrated energy security policy, however, such a step to create a separate department under PMO needs a detailed examination and operational feasibility.