Panagariya Pitches for Electricity as Clean Cooking Option to LPG
Blogs that the cost-effective, emission-free energy will reduce pollution as well as help cut the country’s dependence on import of petroleum & its products
New Delhi: Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya has proposed electricity as a clean cooking alternative to LPG, saying the costeffective, emissionfree energy will reduce pollution as well as India’s dependence on petroleum imports. The comments come at a time when the Narendra Modi-led government is preparing a clean cooking strategy for the country. “The country aims to achieve universal electrification by 2022. Theoretically, if electric cooktops were adopted, universal electrification could translate into universal clean cooking as well,” Panagariya said in a blog, co-authored by Aayog’s energy adviser Anil Jain. The blog, posted on Monday, said there is no target year to achieve universal clean cooking. “Indeed, considering the magnitude of the task ahead, the current strategy of promoting liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and efficient biomass cooking via improved cook stove may take a while to achieve this important objective,” it said.
The 2016-17 Budget has proposed to extend LPG connections to 5 crore BPL families over the next three years.
“However, there is a total of over 12 crore households wit- hout a clean cooking solution, so that a strategy based on LPG alone may take a long time to get there,” the blog said, adding that it, therefore, makes good sense to include electricity in the overall clean cooking strategy.
India imports 50% of its do- mestic LPG requirement and international prices of oil and gas are volatile, making another case for considering greater use of electricity for cooking.
“This energy is emissionfree at the point of consumption and, therefore, alleviates the problem of black carbon that fills a large number of Indian homes today. Additionally, there is no problem of availability of power, it is broadly cost-effective, does not have an import-dependence dimension and is already likely to be delivered to everybody in the next six years or so,” it said.
According to the blog, consistent with the government’s welfare agenda, electricity subsidy dispensation is amenable to an efficient direct benefit transfer (DBT), too. “In short, there is plenty in its favour as a cooking energy.” According to a NITI Aayog study, consumption of 8-10 LPG cylinders (14.2 kg each) per year is equivalent to electricity consumption of nearly 4 kWh per day. This implies that at prevailing electricity prices, the electric solution will cost about the same as LPG if crude oil price remains around $60 per barrel.