Wanted: A Blue Revolution
India and sections of her people have benefited from the ‘Green Revolution’ and the ‘White Revolution’. It is time now to bring about the same convergence of policy and action to execute a quantum jump in the generation of energy. For want of a better hue from the palette, we will term it the ‘Blue Revolution’. The need for energy today is as stark as the need for food grain and milk once was. Energy is an imperative for economic growth and well-being. The per capita consumption of electricity - the cleanest form of energy —-is recognized as a barometer of a country’s development and prosperity. Unfortunately, even six decades after Independence, India fares poorly in the energy race. Our per capita consumption of about 700 KWHrs gives us the unenviable distinction of being in the league of 40 LDCs. The figures are revealing: global per capita consumption is about 2,600 kwhrs; developed nations enjoy a level between 10,000 and 20,000 KWHrs. China, whose total power generation capacity until mid-’70s was comparable with India’s, now boasts the world’s second largest power generation capacity - 700,000 MW. Its per capita consumption is currently around 2,000 KWHrs - three times as much as India’s, and set to surpass global averages by 2011. Every region and state of India is starved for power - only the degree varies. Today, the lack of power is identified as the single biggest roadblock to India’s economic growth. No segment of the economy — be it industry, agriculture or service can do without power. Often government agencies claim that India’s peak time power shortage is about 12%. This is unarguably one of the most misleading pieces of disinformation going around as it is premised only on load shedding data. It does not take into account potential or unrealized demand from consumers who just do not have access to the grid. Interestingly, power is one industry in which demand follows supply. In Plan after Plan, the government...
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