- Prelims: Current events of national importance, Environmental pollution and degradation(Solar energy, Paris Agreement), PM2.5 etc
- Mains GS Paper III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation,Solar energy and its use in different sectors particularly agriculture etc.
- On Independence Day this year, the Prime Minister said that India is showing the world how to combat climate change.
- Climate action is only effective and embraced at scale if it aligns with the development aspirations of millions and contributes to economic growth.
INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE
Importance of green economy:
- It provides an optimistic pathway to align development and environmental outcomes.
- For instance, building a solar park or an electric vehicle charging station helps expand the much-needed infrastructure in a developing economy while furthering climate action.
- Reviving millets helps improve farm incomes in rain-fed areas while making our agriculture climate resilient.
Initiatives in the hinterlands:
- Solar dryers converting throwaway tomatoes into sun-dried ones in Andhra Pradesh
- Biomass-powered cold storages help farmers in Maharashtra selling lemons make a gain that is three to five times that of the original price.
- Solar silk reeling machines reducing drudgery for thigh-reelers and doubling their income in Odisha
Steps that can scale up:
- India’s rural economy often struggles with unreliable electricity access and a dependence on expensive and imported diesel.
- These cleantech solutions can help India reduce its diesel imports
- Avoid the loss of perishable food
- Enhance rural livelihood opportunities while posing an investment opportunity worth $50 billion for investors and financiers.
- Research at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW): It shows that just 12 such cleantech solutions (varying from solar pumps to cold storages to charkhas and looms) have the potential to impact at least 16% of our rural population.
- There needs to be a three-fold approach to traverse this journey from 50,000-plus to tens of millions.
- Leverage existing government programmes supporting livelihoods.
- For instance, the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana that extends collateral-free loans for microenterprises can be used to enable the adoption of cleantech solutions.
- Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM-FME) scheme that supports the adoption of technology among micro food enterprises can be used to unlock support for solutions
- such as a solar dryer, an energy-efficient multipurpose food processor or a solar grain mill.
- Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana can be leveraged towards adopting solar refrigerators and dryers for fishing communities.
- Agriculture Infrastructure Fund( only 15% fund utilization against a target of ₹1 lakh crore
- It can support the adoption of biomass-powered cold storage and beyond.
- Enable large-scale financing of cleantech solutions: It requires supporting bankers’ capacity on credit assessment for cleantech
- There is a need to hedge their risks in the initial stages of the market through partial guarantees.
- Active engagement with financiers is important to structure loan products that are aligned with the cash flow scenarios of users.
- Adopting some of these principles helped ‘Powering Livelihoods(CEEW-Villgro initiative) unlock 300-plus loans for cleantech solutions to
- self help groups
- farmer producer organizations
- individual micro entrepreneurs in rural areas.
- Enable multi-actor partnerships between technology innovators, manufacturers, distributors and service providers, financiers, and market-linkage players to enable an overall ecosystem.
- Cleantech manufacturers often need help bringing their products to customers.
- The challenges faced include
- low product awareness
- high customer acquisition cost as users need to touch and feel these products before adoption,
- low density of customers for such products in a given area.
- Users struggle with limited after-sales service and market linkage of the final processed products.
- We need a holistic ecosystem where distributors work with manufacturers to enable
- technology access at the last mile
- service providers ensure after-sales services
- Market-linkage players enable the connection to the market to create a thriving ecosystem for cleantech to impact rural livelihoods at scale.
- For instance solar dyer companies are deploying dryers and enabling financing for users to adopt the dryers and buying back the final produce from them to ensure market linkages.
- India has massive ambitions for a clean and green future: By focusing on cleantech for livelihoods and jobs, especially in rural areas, we can make that green future inclusive.
QUESTION FOR PRACTICE
Do you think India will meet 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030 ? Justify your answer. How will the shift of subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables help achieve the above objective ? Explain.(UPSC 2022) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)