Energy consumption and air pollution are inexorably linked in today’s fossil-dominated world. This nexus is hard to break, though not impossible. For all those who’ve breathed in Delhi air during winters, it may not come as a surprise that health impacts of air pollution are significant. In fact, air pollution led to ~1·24 million deaths in India in 2017, making it #3 risk factor for deaths and disability combined, ahead of high blood pressure, tobacco and alcohol use. It is a public health emergency, and no longer an issue India can afford to postpone action on.
Shruti Mahajan Deorah
There is a brick wall between careers in the corporate and government worlds in India. Besides the IAS bridge, my peer group did not think of crossing thiswall. It raised a few eyebrows when I joined the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) as a consultant for Renewable Energy (RE) in May 2015. Reactions from friends varied from disbelief to wonderment. Here I was with family, moving from Berkeley to New Delhi to help lay the foundation of a sector with the audacious goal to reach ‘175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022’.
“Why is it so hard for our government to move the needle?” was a big question that drove me to the ‘other side’. I was particularly intrigued by the power sector. Even after 65+ years of independence and decades of government programs, ~300 million Indians did not have access to electricity in 2014 . In fact, India saw the largest grid failure in the history of mankind in 2012 . Is it sheer lack of capacity or willingness, is it corruption or is there more? In this article, I share the answers that I have found so far.