Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Dark Policy: Bulb without Light and Lamp without Fuel

Manish Kumar


In the current neoliberal period, public expenditure in various sectors is being reduced. The present government is trying to implement a range of policies that run counter to the interests of the people. One such measure is the proposal to remove the subsidy on kerosene.[1] This proposal is purportedly based on data from the Census of India, 2011, which indicates that only 3 per cent of all households in India are using kerosene as fuel for cooking. It further points out that kerosene is a source of lighting for 31 per cent of all households. Basing itself on these figures, the Union government has proposed to instruct all states to limit provision of subsidized kerosene to un-electrified households. According to the proposal, un-electrified households will be given a choice between cash subsidy for kerosene and upfront subsidy for installing solar lighting systems. The proposal also involves the directive that states with 100 per cent electrification should move towards cleaner energy. The main objective behind such policies is to decrease the fiscal burden. The impact such a measure would have, however, does not end there. It would result in manifold problems even apart from the widely discussed question of the shift to cash transfers [2], and the deceptive formula of under-recovery for petroleum products.[3]

To understand the effect of such policies, one needs to look at the sector and the people whom it is going to effect. Kerosene is primarily used for two purposes, firstly as a fuel for cooking and secondly, for lighting. Since in India consumption of kerosene is largely found in households with low income levels, the policy to scrap subsidy on kerosene is going to adversely affect these economically deprived sections.

Patterns of Energy-Usage in India
Fuels for Cooking:
In India, firewood, crop residue, cow dung cake, coal, kerosene, LPG, electricity, biogas etc are major fuels for cooking. According to census of India 2011, 49 per cent of total households use firewood as primary fuel for cooking. Other than this, around 29 per cent households use LPG, 9 per cent use crop residue, 8 per cent use cow dung cake, 1.5 per cent use coal and 3 per cent of total households use kerosene. So, clearly around 66 per cent of total households in India use firewood combined with crop residue and cow dung cake. The numbers presented here show the primary fuel for cooking but most of the families use some secondary fuels as well from the same available options. There can be many families which use Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as well as kerosene or firewood and kerosene and so on. Whatever be the combination, one thing is very clear that even after 67 years of independence, most of the families are dependent on firewood, crop residue and cow dung cake for cooking which is considered to be very dangerous for health and for environment (world health organization report 2006).


The first step toward clean energy must be to discourage the use of firewood, crop residue and cow dung cakes. Unfortunately India has not improved in this much in last one decade. As per the census of India, 2001, 52 per cent of total households were using firewood and in the span of 10 years, it could improve only by 3 per cent. The table 1, shown below gives distribution of households based on type of fuels used for cooking. The states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh more than 75 per cent households are using firewood, crop residue and cow dung cake (Table 1).Only three union territories have less than 20 per cent households which are using these dangerous fuels. It is also reflected in the data that the states or union territories which use cleaner energy i.e. LPG have also more kerosene user families than the national average. Clearly, kerosene’s role can’t be denied as a step in transition from unclean to clean energy.

The reasons behind the large scale use of firewood, cow dung cake or crop residue is the easier and cheaper availability of these fuels. Other things like lack of awareness and lower income level of households also play a great role in the usage of these sources [4]. Obviously, awareness in this regard has to play a big role but at the same time making cleaner and cheaper options available and accessible will help to a great extent.

Table 1: Distribution of households by type of fuel used for cooking
States/Uts
Firewood (%)
Crop residue (%)
Cow dung cake (%)
Coal (%)
Kerosene (%)
LPG (%)
Electricity (%)
Biogas (%)
Any other (%)
No cooking (%)
Jammu and Kashmir
58.9
2.5
4.2
0
1.3
31.6
0.4
0.8
0.2
0.2
Himachal Pradesh
57.5
1.1
0.2
0
2.1
38.6
0.2
0.1
0
0.3
Punjab
13.4
6.5
20.4
0.2
3.2
54.5
0
1.4
0.1
0.3
Chandhigarh
4.6
0.3
0.2
0.1
21.9
71.6
0
0.1
0.1
1.1
Uttrakhand
48.7
1.3
3.2
0.1
1.8
44.2
0
0.5
0
0.3
Haryana
26.1
14.1
14.2
0.1
1
44
0
0.3
0.1
0.2
NCT Delhi
3.4
0.3
0.6
0.1
5.3
89.9
0
0.1
0.1
0.3
Rajasthan
61.8
11
3
0.1
0.9
22.8
0
0.1
0.1
0.2
Uttar Pradesh
47.7
8.7
23.1
0.3
0.7
18.9
0.1
0.2
0.1
0.2
Bihar
34.7
32.5
21.7
1
0.3
8.1
0.1
0.3
1.2
0.2
Sikkim
52.5
0.6
0.2
0.1
4.4
41.3
0.3
0.1
0
0.6
Arunachal Pradesh
68.7
0.7
0.1
0
0.7
29.2
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.3
Nagaland
77.9
0.8
0.1
0
0.6
20
0.1
0.1
0.1
0.2
Manipur
65.7
1.1
0.2
2.1
0.2
29.7
0.1
0.2
0.6
0.1
Mizoram
44.5
0.3
0.1
0.4
1.8
52.6
0.2
0.1
0.1
0.1
Tripura
80.5
0.8
0.1
0.1
0.6
17.6
0
0.1
0.1
0.1
Meghalaya
79
0.9
0.3
2.3
3.7
11.9
1.6
0.2
0.1
0.2
Assam
72.1
6.4
0.9
0.1
0.6
19
0.1
0.1
0.4
0.4
West Bengal
33.1
25.6
10
7.9
2.1
18
0.1
0.3
2.7
0.3
Jharkhand
57.6
4
7.2
18.1
0.2
11.7
0.3
0.1
0.6
0.1
Odisha
65
10.2
9.4
1.6
1.1
9.8
0.4
0.2
2
0.3
Chhattisgarh
80.8
0.9
3.7
2.3
0.5
11.2
0.1
0.2
0.1
0.2
Madhya Pradesh
66.4
5.6
7.7
0.2
1.3
18.2
0.1
0.4
0.1
0.2
Gujarat
44
5.7
2.6
0.5
7.6
38.3
0
0.9
0.1
0.4
Daman & Diu
10.8
1.5
0.2
0.2
30.8
53
0.1
0.9
0.1
2.4
Dadar & N H
40.4
0.4
0.2
0.1
17.8
39.8
0
0.4
0
0.8
Maharashtra
42.6
4.5
1.2
0.2
6.5
43.4
0.1
0.7
0.1
0.8
Andhra Pradesh
56.8
1.4
0.6
0.3
3.9
35.8
0.1
0.7
0.1
0.3
Karnataka
57.5
2.9
0.2
0.1
5.4
32.5
0.1
0.9
0.1
0.3
Goa
20.7
0.9
0.2
0.1
4.1
72.7
0.1
0.4
0.1
0.7
Lakshwadeep
54.8
10.7
0.1
0.1
13.7
16.6
1.2
0.2
0
2.5
Kerala
61.9
0.8
0.1
0.1
0.4
35.8
0
0.6
0
0.3
Tamil Nadu
43.5
0.6
0.2
0.1
6.9
47.9
0.1
0.3
0.1
0.4
Puducherry
18
0.3
0.1
0
10.3
70.5
0.1
0.1
0
0.6
A&N Island
33.8
0.4
0
0
19.8
44.5
0
0
0.1
1.4
India
49
8.9
8
1.5
2.9
28.6
0.1
0.4
0.5
0.3

Source: Census of India, 2011.


The proposed policy in no way going to help in discouraging the use of dangerous fuels, in fact it may lead to increase in use of firewood, crop residue and cow dung cakes. One can possibly argue, since only 3 per cent households are using kerosene, so at max, use of dangerous fuel will increase by 3 per cent. But here one should note that to reduce the uses of dangerous fuels by just 3 per cent, country took 10 years and secondly, these data are only for primary fuel and not for secondary. Suppose a rural household uses LPG as primary fuel and kerosene as secondary then considering easy accessibility of firewood etc. the family will move toward dangerous fuels because of higher price of kerosene. So the point is, increase in price of kerosene will not only discourage it as a primary fuel but also as a secondary fuel or in other words it will promote the use of firewood, cow dung cake or crop residue indirectly.

Sources of Lighting:
In this proposal, electrification has been taken as a parameter to take away subsidy from consumers. Now in the light of this policy we need to understand the whole electrification process. As far as question of 100 per cent electrification is concerned, it should be seen in two parts i.e. urban electrification and rural electrification. If we consider just electrification the urban India is completely electrified. So, 100 per cent electrification of a state depends only on rural electrification. Here one should note that definition of electrification in general and village electrification in particular has changed at many points of time. Before 1997, a village was considered as electrified if electricity was used for any purpose. After 1997, to be called an electrified village, electricity had to be used in any inhabited locality. But Since 2004-05, Ministry of Power is using a three point definition i.e.[5] 

“A village would be declared as electrified if
  1.  Basic infrastructure such as Distribution Transformer and Distribution lines are provided in the inhabited locality as well as the Dalit Basti/ hamlet where it exists. (For electrification through Non Conventional Energy Sources a Distribution transformer may not be necessary).
  2. Electricity is provided to public places like Schools, Panchayat Office, Health Centres, Dispensaries, Community centers etc. and
  3. The number of households electrified should be at least 10% of the total number of households in the village.”


On the basis of the above definition, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Ministry of Power (MoP) gives the following figures (Aug, 2014).

At the first sight, the table 2, shown below represents an impressive image of rural India. Except for a few states, more than 90 per cent villages of Indian states are electrified.  

Table 2 Distribution of state wise electrified villages

States/UTs
Total Inhabited Villages
Electrified villages, achievement as on 31-08-14
Proportion of electrified village  (%)
Andhra Pradesh
26286
26286
100
Arunachal Pradesh
5258
3614
68.7
Assam
25372
24548
96.8
Bihar 
39073
37316
95.5
Chhattisgarh 
19567
19092
97.6
Goa
320
320
100
Gujarat
17843
17843
100
Haryana
6642
6642
100
Himachal Pradesh
17882
17880
99.99
Jammu & Kashmir
6337
6224
98.2
Jharkhand 
29492
27167
92.1
Karnataka
27397
26704
97.5
Kerala
1017
1017
100
Madhya Pradesh
51929
50440
97.1
Maharashtra
40956
40920
99.9
Manipur
2379
2061
86.6
Meghalaya
6459
5152
79.8
Mizoram
704
600
85.2
Nagaland
1400
1261
90.1
Odisha
47677
38921
81.6
Punjab
12168
12168
100
Rajasthan
43264
39045
90.2
Sikkim
425
425
100
Tamil Nadu
15049
15049
100
Tripura
863
837
97
Uttar Pradesh
97813
96515
98.7
Uttarakhand
15745
15638
99.3
West Bengal
37463
37461
99.99
A & N Island
396
308
77.8
Chandigarh
5
5
100
D & N Haveli
65
65
100
Daman & Diu
19
19
100
Delhi
103
103
100
Lakshadweep
6
6
100
Pondicherry
90
90
100
Total
597464
571742
95.7
As the definition in itself is very clear that all households in an electrified village need not to be electrified and that is why we can see a huge gap between village electrification and household electrification across the states. As per the census of India, 2011 only 67 per cent of total households are electrified. For urban and rural parts these are 93 per cent and 55 per cent respectively.

It is beyond any doubt that electrification and particularly rural electrification is necessary for economic betterment as well as for social betterment. With this view several projects started by the central government at different points of time to promote rural electrification, such as the Kutir Jyoti Yojana: 1988, Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana: 2000-01, Accelerated Rural Electrification Program: 2003-04 and the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY): 2005,  which was committed to electrify all rural households by 2012. But the real achievements of the nation are far below than expected.

Table 3 gives state wise distribution of electrified households in rural as well as in urban areas. Still a dozen states could not provide electricity to their more than 40 per cent of total rural households. In six out of these twelve states, more than 50 per cent rural households are un-electrified. Bihar is the worst in India. Only 10 per cent rural households are electrified in the state. Given the condition of electrification, limited options are available for lighting, kerosene is one of those. According to census of India, 2011, kerosene is used as source of lighting in more than 31 per cent households. For rural part it is around 43 per cent and in urban areas it is 6.5 per cent. Use of solar energy is negligible for lighting purposes. Only 0.4 per cent of total households in India use solar energy. So, un-electrified households have to completely rely of kerosene for lighting.

Table3. State-wise distribution of electrified households (Rural and Urban)
States/UTs
Proportion of electrified Households


All
Rural
Urban
Jammu and Kashmir
85.1
80.7
98
Himachal Pradesh
96.8
96.6
98.1
Punjab
96.6
95.5
98.3
Chandhigarh
98.4
97.3
98.4
Uttrakhand
87
83.1
96.5
Haryana
90.5
87.2
96.2
NCT Delhi
99.1
97.8
99.1
Rajasthan
67
58.3
93.9
Uttar Pradesh
36.8
23.8
81.4
Bihar
16.4
10.4
66.4
Sikkim
92.5
90.2
98.7
Arunachal Pradesh
65.7
55.5
96
Nagaland
81.6
75.2
97.4
Manipur
68.3
61.2
82.4
Mizoram
84.2
68.8
98.1
Tripura
68.4
59.5
91.6
Meghalaya
60.9
51.6
94.9
Assam
37
28.4
84.1
West Bengal
54.5
40.3
85.1
Jharkhand
45.8
32.3
88
Odisha
43
35.6
83.1
Chhattisgarh
75.3
70
93.7
Madhya Pradesh
67.1
58.3
92.7
Gujarat
90.4
85
97.2
Daman & Diu
99.1
98.3
99.3
Dadar & Nagar Haweli
95.2
91.7
98.5
Maharashtra
83.9
73.8
96.2
Andhra Pradesh
92.2
89.7
97.3
Karnataka
90.6
86.7
96.4
Goa
96.9
95.6
97.7
Lakshadweep
99.7
99.8
99.7
Kerala
94.4
92.1
97
Tamil Nadu
93.4
90.8
96.1
Puducherry
97.7
95.8
98.5
A&N Island
86.1
79.4
97.7
INDIA
67.2
55.3
92.7
Source: Census of India, 2011

When large part of India is still far away from electricity in such a condition the proposed policy can adversely affect already deprived sections. These households are not using kerosene by choice. They are forced to use it as no alternative is available. Secondly, social and economic backwardness affects the process of electrification in an electrified village, so expensive kerosene can leave them in darkness [6]. One can possibly argue that government is proposing to give cash subsidy or upfront subsidy for solar lighting system so there is no such harm. But one should note that there is a provision in RGGVY i.e. Decentralized Distributed Generation (DDG) and Supply. This makes the arrangement for decentralized generation cum distribution from other sources where grid connectivity is either not feasible or not cost effective. Data on village electrification already incorporates such villages. Even after having such provisions still many houses are un-electrified. There is no doubt that promoting solar energy is good but feasibility of this is questionable.

Moreover, even if any house is electrified, inadequacy of electricity supply is very serious issue. The table 4, shown below gives state wise deficit of electricity during peak hours (period between 1800 hrs to 2300 hrs is considered as peak hour). There is a deficit of 6103 MW at all India level. The point to be noted is this condition is when many parts of the country are still not connected with electricity. Therefore the overall demands mentioned here do not include demand by the un-electrified parts. It is anyone’s guess that the real deficit would be even higher when all the households are electrified.

Table 4 State wise peak hour deficit during 2013-14

Region / State / System
Peak Demand (MW)
Peak Demand Met(MW)
Deficit/Surplus
Deficit/Surplus (%)
Chandigarh
345
345
0
0
Delhi
6,035
5,653
-382
-6.3
Haryana
8,114
8,114
0
0
Himachal Pradesh
1,561
1,392
-169
-10.8
Jammu & Kashmir
2,500
1,998
-502
-20.1
Punjab
10,089
8,733
-1,356
-13.4
Rajasthan
10,047
10,038
-9
-0.1
Uttar Pradesh
13,089
12,327
-762
-5.8
Uttarakhand
1,826
1,826
0
0
Chhattisgarh
3,365
3,320
-45
-1.3
Gujarat
12,201
12,201
0
0
Madhya Pradesh
9,716
9,716
0
0
Maharashtra
19,276
17,621
-1,655
-8.6
Daman & Diu
322
297
-25
-7.8
Dadra & Nagar Havel
661
661
0
0
Goa
529
529
0
0
Andhra Pradesh
14,072
13,162
-910
-6.5
Karnataka
9,940
9,223
-717
-7.2
Kerala
3,671
3,573
-98
-2.7
Tamil Nadu
13,522
12,492
-1,030
-7.6
Puducherry
351
333
-18
-5.1
Lakshadweep
9
9
0
0
Bihar
2,465
2,312
-153
-6.2
Jharkhand
1,111
1,069
-42
-3.8
Odisha
3,727
3,722
-5
-0.1
West Bengal
7,325
7,294
-31
-0.4
Sikkim
90
90
0
0
Andaman & Nicobar
40
32
-8
-20
Arunachal Pradesh
125
124
-1
-0.8
Assam
1,329
1,220
-109
-8.2
Manipur
134
133
-1
-0.7
Meghalaya
343
330
-13
-3.8
Mizoram
84
82
-2
-2.4
Nagaland
109
106
-3
-2.8
Tripura
254
250
-4
-1.6
All India
135,918
129,815
-6,103
-4.5
Source: Load generation balanced report 2014-15, MoP. 2014

Conclusion
Analysis of proposed policy suggests that it is going to adversely affect deprived people. At one hand it can promote more use of firewood, crop residue and cow dung cakes as fuel for cooking. At another hand the proposed policy can snatch lamp from households without providing light to the bulb. Considering the current situation of the nation priority should be given to discourage the use of firewood, crop residue and cow dung cakes and this will be more difficult once the subsidy on kerosene is scrapped. Instead, intensive electrification, more generation and adequate supply of electricity can automatically discourage the use of kerosene as source of lighting.

References



No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation. It may take some time to appear in the blog.