Cleantech, for an inclusive green future in India
During his recent speech on India’s Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted India’s global role in addressing climate change. India’s experience demonstrates that effective climate action is most successful when aligned with the aspirations of millions and contributes to economic growth.
GS – 03 (Growth & Development)
- Green GDP
- Green National Account
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Discuss the role of the green economy paradigm in aligning development goals with environmental outcomes. Analyze its potential impact on rural livelihoods and economic growth in India. 250 words
Dimensions of the Article:
- Green Economy Pathway for Development
- Ventures in Remote Areas
- Catalyzing a Silent Revolution
- Research Insights into Transformational Cleantech
- Roadmap for Scaling Up
Green Economy Pathway for Development:
- The concept of the green economy offers a promising avenue to bring together development goals and environmental progress. For instance, the establishment of solar parks or electric vehicle charging stations serves a dual purpose.
- It not only enhances necessary infrastructure in growing economies but also promotes climate action simultaneously.
- Similarly, the revival of millets doesn’t just boost farm incomes in rain-reliant regions but also makes our agriculture resilient to changing climates.
Ventures in Remote Areas:
- Recent efforts have embraced the green economy concept, particularly in India’s hinterlands. These initiatives aim to provide access to clean technology solutions for rural livelihoods. Examples include solar dryers transforming excess tomatoes into sun-dried versions in Andhra Pradesh. Biomass-powered cold storage units benefit lemon vendors in Maharashtra, yielding profits three to five times higher than the original cost.
- Moreover, solar silk reeling devices in Odisha reduce the labor for silk workers, doubling their earnings. With over 50,000 such examples, clean technology solutions are clearly contributing to the economic wellbeing of rural communities.
Catalyzing a Silent Revolution:
- However, this quiet revolution that spans from Rajasthan’s deserts to Nagaland’s forests, from Kashmir’s snowy peaks to Tamil Nadu’s sunny plains, requires further support. India’s rural economy, home to 120 million farmers and 34 million microenterprises, grapples with inconsistent power access and reliance on expensive diesel. Cleantech solutions powered by renewable sources can address these issues.
- These solutions can decrease diesel imports, prevent food wastage, enhance rural livelihoods, and provide a $50 billion investment opportunity for backers.
Research Insights into Transformational Cleantech:
- Thorough research by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) reveals that a mere dozen such cleantech solutions, ranging from solar pumps to cold storage units, have the potential to impact about 37 million livelihoods—approximately 16% of the rural population. To transition from these scattered examples to widespread impact, a comprehensive three-pronged strategy is required.
Roadmap for Scaling Up:
Leveraging Existing Government Initiatives:
- One crucial step is to make use of existing government programs focused on livelihoods. The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana, offering collateral-free loans to microenterprises, can facilitate the adoption of cleantech solutions.
- Similarly, the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM-FME) scheme can support the integration of technology in micro food enterprises, enabling the adoption of solutions like solar dryers and energy-efficient food processors.
Enhancing Financial Support:
- Empowering financial institutions with a clear understanding of cleantech solutions is vital. Educating bankers about assessing credit for such innovative solutions is essential for informed decision-making.
- Early risk mitigation through partial guarantees can be crucial in the initial stages of the market. Active engagement with financiers is necessary to design loan products aligned with user cash flow.
- The ‘Powering Livelihoods’ initiative, a partnership between CEEW and Villgro, demonstrates these principles by securing more than 300 loans for cleantech solutions in rural areas.
Fostering Collaborative Partnerships:
- Effective partnerships involving technology innovators, manufacturers, distributors, service providers, financiers, and market-linkage players create a holistic cleantech ecosystem.
- Manufacturers often struggle with issues like limited product awareness and high customer acquisition costs, while users might face challenges with limited after-sales services and market connections for the final products.
- A well-rounded ecosystem necessitates collaboration among distributors, manufacturers, service providers, and market-linkage players, ensuring technology access, support, and market connections.
By weaving together these strategic elements, India can navigate a path toward an ecologically sound and comprehensive future. Focusing on integrating cleantech with livelihoods, especially in rural regions, holds the promise of realizing India’s green aspirations.