[Model Answer] UPSC GSM3-2018/Q1: Energy Access initiatives for SDG: Ujjwala, Saubhagya, Gram-Jyoti, Urja Ganga, Uday (150 words)

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  1. Question from Mains-2018 GS Paper-3
  2. Introduction (either give origin or DATA)
  3. Body-Structure Type#A: Ministry-wise
  4. Body-Structure Type#B: Question’s Keyword wise
  5. Conclusion
  6. Common MISTAKES / PITFALLS

Question from Mains-2018 GS Paper-3

Q. Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Comment on the progress made in India in this regard. (150 words, 10 marks)

“वहनीय, विश्वसनीय, धारणीय तथा आधुनिक ऊर्जा तक पहुच संधारणीय विकास लक्ष्यों (एस. डी. जी.) को प्राप्त करने के लिए अनिवार्य है।” भारत में इस सबंध में हुई प्रगति पर टिप्पणी कीजिए।

Relevance to GSM3-Syllabus? Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Introduction (either give origin or DATA)

SDG Energy Access Saubhagaya

  • (Origin of the issue- Energy क्यो मंगता है?) Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability. With access to energy, people can study, go to university, get a job, start a business – and reach their full potential. On the other hand unequal access to energy increase the income divide of a country, and pushes the poor families to use firewood with has negative implications on both the environment as well as the health of housewives. Hence, The Government of India has taken following initiatives in this regard:
  • (DATA) Presently, 300 million Indians do not have access to electricity and 500 million Indians are dependent on solid biomass for cooking. Per capita electricity consumption in India stands at ~1,000 KWh against the world average of 3,200 KWh. It hampers their educational pursuits (Mobile/PC: E-learning), economic progress and quality of life. The Government of India has taken following initiatives in this regard:

If you don’t know many schemes, then you can try to pad the answer by writing longer “ORIGIN” introduction like above, i.e. “If energy available then ABC will happen, if not available then inverse of ABC will happen.”

Body-Structure Type#A: Ministry-wise Initiatives by Government

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

  • 2015: PAHAL (Pratyaksh Hanstantrit Labh) all LPG Subsidy beneficiaries to be linked to Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS). It reduces the opportunities of siphoning off the subsidized gas-cylinders in commercial restaurants. This increased availability of subsidized cylinder encourages poor families to switch from firewood and kerosene stoves.
  • 2016: Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala scheme: 5 crore LPG connections to women members of rural BPL households. It reduces their drudgery of firewood collection, and protects them from negative health-effect of smoke from wood or Kerosene based stoves.
  • 2016: Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga to lay gas pipelines and connect the western, northern and south-eastern gas markets with major gas sources. This will help setting up City Gas Distribution Networks in even small town, which will increase the access to CNG-gas stations and direct-to-home cooking gas lines.
  • 2017: HELP- The new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy: to increase the domestic production of oil and gas, thereby lessening the global price shocks on consumers.
  • Pilot projects for DBT of PDS Kerosene. States/ UTs are encouraged to become ‘Kerosene Free’ by brining all households under LPG. UTs of Delhi, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Dadar and Nagar Haveli & Puducherry and the States of Haryana, Andhra Pradesh & Punjab have become ‘Kerosene Free’ by the end of 2017.

Ministry of Power

  • 2014: The Ultra Mega Power Projects (4000MW each) with supercritical technology to achieve higher thermal efficiency.
  • 2015: Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDLJ).** It aims for 24/7 electricity to rural areas via:
    • Separation of feeder lines for rural households & agricultural.
    • Strengthening of sub-transmission & distribution infrastructure.
  • 2015: UJALA-Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All, which provides subsidized LED bulbs to households. This encourages families to switch from kerosene lanterns to electricity based lighting. [Because even if electricity connection is available from DeenDayal scheme, but its consumption appears expensive due to incandescent lamps, then poor families will be discouraged.]
  • 2015: UDAY -Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana in which State governments are encouraged to takeover the debt of Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs). So, that the Financially de-stressed DISCOMs can supply adequate power at affordable rates to poor families.
  • 2017: Saubhagaya- Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana. To provide last mile electricity connections to all remaining un-electrified households in rural & urban areas. The scheme includes installation of meter, wiring for a single LED bulb and a mobile charging point. If electricity pole is not available nearby from household then erection of additional pole also covered under the scheme. Deadline: 31st of December 2018.

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy ( SANAM-RE नही MNRE)

  • Target of 175 GW renewable power installed capacity by the end of 2022. This includes 60 GW from wind power, 100 GW from solar power, 10 GW from biomass power and 5 GW from small hydro power.
  • Subsidy and loans for purchase of solar panels. Farmers can install such panels in their farm, grow vegetables under the shade of panel, generate electricity for their personal use and sell the surplus power to electricity companies to earn extra money.
  • Similarly, schemes and subsidies for installation of biomass gasification, bagasse co-generation, small hydro plants, off-shore wind plants.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100% is permitted under the automatic route for renewable energy generation.
  • 2017: ARUN App (Atal Rooftop Solar User Navigator) launched to help users launch solar panels.
  • Aforementioned initiatives increase the access to energy in remote areas which are difficult to connect through conventional grid system.

NOTE: If you’re unsure of which ministry is implementing which scheme, then you may structure the body in following manner:

  • List of scheme for increasing access to electricity?
  • List of scheme for increasing access to cooking-gas / LPG?
  • List of scheme for increasing access to renewable energy?

Body-Structure Type#B: Question’s Keyword wise

The question was: “Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non for SDG”. So, we could target the keywords in the body:

  • Affordable energy:
    • Electricity rates are subsidized / kept low for the to agriculture and poor households.
    • PAHAL-LPG subsidy is given so poor families stop using firewood for cooking.
  • Reliable energy:
    • If DISCOMs are suffering from heavy debt, they can’t improve and expand their network for supplying 24/7 electricity. So, UDAY -Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana
    • Rural areas suffer from frequent power outages so DeenDayal Gram Jyoti.
  • Sustainable energy:
    • Schemes subsidies for solar panels, lamps, irrigation pumps, biogas plants.
    • Small hydro projects, wind mills, biogas, bagassee..
  • Modern energy:
    • To encourage families to switch from wood and kerosene to LPG… _ _ _ schemes.
    • To encourage families to switch from kerosene lamp to electrical lights… _ _ _ schemes.

Conclusion (हाँ, विकास के लिए ऊर्जा जरूरी, काम चालू है)

  • Availability of reliable energy in rural areas improves the educational activities for children, quality of life for women, and economic activities for men.
  • Taking cognizance of these benefits, SDG Goal #7 requires countries to ensure universal access to affordable energy by 2030.
  • With aforementioned schemes / initiatives, Government of India is targeting to achieve this by 2022.

Common MISTAKES / PITFALLS in the Answer (लोग क्या गलतीया करते है)

  • Writing NEGATIVE-TONE conclusion that “still _ _ _ % of households still don’t have access to electricity so we’ve miles to go”
  • Writing about how cheap energy improves daily life of children, men and women is NOT ASKED. And inverse is also not asked i.e. how lack of energy access harms development. Question has already preambled that “energy is sine qua non for SDG” So, what has India done- that is asked?
  • “Government updated coal mining policy, hydrocarbon exploration policy. The initiatives that lead to more electricity, oil or gas generation.” Correct. But since question keyword is “ACCESS” so you’ve to mention how increased supply helps in price shocks, thereby making it AFFORDABLE to poor families.
  • Don’t excessively focus on renewable energy initiatives. Because question is about “affordable energy” not “clean or renewable energy”
  • Mistaking the word “energy” for “electricity”, and thus forgetting to mention the schemes for LPG and Kerosene.

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2 Comments on “[Model Answer] UPSC GSM3-2018/Q1: Energy Access initiatives for SDG: Ujjwala, Saubhagya, Gram-Jyoti, Urja Ganga, Uday (150 words)”

  1. Sir, question is comment on the progress made in india in achieving reliable,suatainable…energy.Then don’t we have to write how far the schemes launched by the government were able to achieve the goal.kindly clarify.

    1. Question is not about commenting on the success made by India implementing the schemes(i.e achieving the goal). Rather it is on progress made or how far India is able to garner the schemes that are aimed in achieving reliable etc energy.

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