With the current challenges prevailing in Indian energy and environment sectors, the newly elected Modi government can address the issues and bring about structural reforms quite early in its term, Brookings India chairman and senior fellow wrote in The Indian Express. These reforms include integrating energy and environment ministries, keeping a close watch on the demand of energy needs, fostering relations with oil exporting countries, allowing international companies in coal mining and exploiting the potential of natural gas, said Vikram S Mehta.
With India dependent on other countries for its oil needs, it becomes pertinent for the government to foster international diplomatic relations. For one, the government must look to recruit cadre with relevant domain and international expertise, said Vikram S Mehta. Also, the government must “establish strong personal relations with the leaders of oil exporting states”, he added.
Handing major oil, gas fields to international players
Mumbai High and other major oil and gas fields should be given to international players who have better oil recovery strategy than the Indian players.
Clubbing Energy and Environment ministries
Currently, energy and environment are two different ministries and the merger of the same will “perforate the siloed approach to energy policy and enable the new government to view the sector through an integrated and holistic lens,” Mehta wrote. The government can also look to pass the “Energy and Environment Security Act” which will bring these sectors to the national narrative. This will also lead to mitigation of citizens in adopting a non-fossil fuel based energy system, he added.
Decarbonisation, renewable energy sources
Harnessing solar and wind power to generate electricity, incentivising the usage of electric vehicles, and restructuring factories and buildings to make them carbon neutral should be on the agenda of the government.
Tapping the potential of natural gas
Reforms in Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) can further the need to exploit the potential posed by natural gas. First, GAIL should unbundle into a monopoly gas pipeline company, said Vikram Mehta. Moreover, every player, despite public or private, must have fair access to gas pipelines. Also, the prices of gas should be grounded in market and competitive principles, Vikram S Mehta opined.