The-need-for-a-single-energy-ministry-2020
Editorial Notes

[Editorial Notes] Need for an integrated Energy ministry

A single unified ministry of energy would help India to have an integrated outlook on energy that would enable us to optimize our limited resources and meet the goals of energy security, sustainability and accessibility.
By IASToppers
January 08, 2020

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Present Scenario
  • Issues pertaining right now
  • Governance model across the world
  • Views supporting a single ministry
  • Why is a single ministry needed?
  • Some supportive moves by present government
  • Example of Ministry of Jal Shakti
  • Conclusion

Need for an integrated Energy ministry

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Introduction

With a multitude of departments and ministries governing the energy sector at the present times, there has been a lack of coordination, issues in data collection and unsatisfactory end results.

The need for a single energy ministry

To ensure energy security, sustainability and accessibility, there lies an urgent need for an integrated ministry of energy on the lines of newly constituted ministry of Jal Shakti.

Present Scenario

  • Currently the country’s energy sector is being regulated by five different ministries.

india energy portal (2)

  • Petroleum and natural gas, coal, renewable energy and nuclear energy have separate ministries or departments.
  • The Ministry of Power along with State-level bodies regulate electricity distribution companies, or DISCOMS.
  • Further, the petroleum and natural gas sector has two regulators – Directorate General of Hydrocarbons for upstream activities and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board for downstream activities.

The presence of different regulators for each type of fuel and energy source which makes the businesses operating in this sector tough and reduces the overall efficiency.

Issues pertaining right now

  • There are issues with data collection as no single agency collects energy data in a wholesome and integrated manner.
  • Data pertaining to consumption are barely available while supply side data collected by agencies of respective ministries are riddled with gaps.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation collects and combines the data available from various ministries and conducts surveys at sporadic intervals.
  • On the energy efficiency front, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency is the sole statutory authority with the mandate to regulate energy efficiency on the consumption side.

, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency 2

  • As of now, there is no agency or body for regulating efficiency on the supply side.

Governance model across the world

  • Developed and efficient countries such as the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom have their diverse and prolific energy sectors administered by a single ministry or department.
  • Further sometimes the energy ministry works in conjunction with other portfolios such as environment, climate change, mines and industry.
  • Hence the predominance of unified energy ministries is evident in the developed nations.

Views supporting a single ministry

1. Kelkar Committee Report:

The Kelkar Committee in 2013 in a report titled “Roadmap for Reduction in Import Dependency in the Hydrocarbon Sector by 2030” stated that “Multiple ministries and agencies are currently involved in managing energy-related issues, presenting challenges of coordination and optimal resource utilization, hence undermining efforts to increase energy security”.

2. Draft National Energy Policy (NEP):

  • The NITI Aayog in the Draft National Energy Policy has advocated to create a unified Ministry of Energy by merging the Ministries of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), Coal (MoC), New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and Power (MoP).
  • The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has been left out from the proposed unified ministry since it has implications beyond the scope of energy and involves national security issues.
  • The proposed ministry would have six agencies under it to handle various aspects of the energy sector — Energy Regulatory Agency, Energy Data Agency, Energy Efficiency Agency, Energy Planning and Technical Agency, Energy Schemes Implementation Agency and Energy R&D Agency.

Why is a single ministry needed?

  • A single unified ministry of energy would help India to have an integrated outlook on energy that would enable us to optimize our limited resources and meet the goals of energy security, sustainability and accessibility.

The need for a single energy ministry 1

  • In the fast-changing energy landscape of our country, having a single energy ministry would be beneficial as it would allow for a quicker policy response.
  • Formulating an integrated and wholesome energy policy in the current governance structure is a complex and challenging task due to lack of coordination among ministries, absence of good quality consumption data and their inflexible attitude.

Some supportive moves by present government

  • The appointment of a single minister for both MNRE and MoP is a welcome move by government in this regard as both of these sectors are heavily interlinked.
  • Having a single administrator will help in resolving long-standing issues faced by both conventional and renewable power generators such as power balancing and transmission infrastructure planning and would prevent issues like non-payment of dues by DISCOMS to the generators.
  • An example can be cited, when there was a single minister for MNRE, MoP and MoC, great results were seen in village electrification, LED bulb distribution (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All, or UJALA), power sector reforms (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana, or UDAY), coal block e-auctions and alleviation of coal shortages.

Example of Ministry of Jal Shakti

  • The newly created Ministry of Jal Shakti was formed by merging the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
  • The objective of this action is to unify water management functions, treat the issues of water management holistically and ensure better coordination of efforts.

Conclusion

  • Having a unified and integrated ministry will fix accountability on the concerned minister and will demonstrate the intention of the political leadership to reform the energy governance structure.
  • This will subtly avert the blame game and will bring out a structural reforms in the current bureaucratic style of governance.
  • The need of the hour is a quick and holistic decision by the incumbent government to create a unified ministry, which can enable India to keep up with the global energy transition and even be a flag bearer in adopting cleaner energy sources.
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