Solutions for better energy management

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Source: The post solutions for better energy management has been created, based on the article “Organising for the energy transition” published in “Business standard” on 10th June 2024

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 3-infrastructure- Energy

Context: The article discusses the problem of too many separate departments in the Indian government handling energy policies, which leads to inefficient and conflicting actions. It suggests merging departments, creating a single Ministry of Energy, and establishing groups to better coordinate efforts on climate transition.

For detailed information on Challenges in India’s current energy policy read this article here

What is the current problem with government departments in India?

1.Multiple Departments with Conflicting Goals: India’s energy sector is fragmented across multiple departments with conflicting objectives. For instance, the Ministry of Coal promotes coal usage, whereas the Ministry of Renewable Energy advocates for reduced coal dependence. This misalignment affects coherent policy formulation.

2.Policy Incoherence: The lack of a unified approach causes policy incoherence, complicating both domestic governance and international relations concerning energy transition and environmental commitments.

What are the proposed solutions for better energy management?

1.Rethink Departments: Merge similar departments like the Ministry of Coal and the Department of Atomic Energy into two departments—one for carbon-based fuels and one for carbon-free fuels. This can streamline operations and reduce redundancy.

2.Unified Ministry of Energy: Create a single Ministry of Energy that includes all energy-related departments. This ministry would have multiple departments headed by secretary-rank officers, led by one minister and one energy secretary. Although it simplifies the structure, some departmental issues may persist.

3.Group of Ministers for Climate Transition: Form a Group of Ministers (GoM) to coordinate climate policies. This group should be chaired by the Finance Minister, supported by a technical secretariat composed of research organizations, to ensure informed decision-making.

4.Rethink Regulators: Reevaluate the structure and role of regulators, who currently wield significant power by combining executive, legislative, and judicial functions. This is crucial for effective energy transition management.

5.Unified Parliamentary Standing Committee: Establish a single Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy Transition to consolidate the efforts of multiple committees. This committee should be supported by a group of research organizations to enhance its effectiveness and coherence.

How do other countries manage their energy policies?

Germany: The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) oversees energy transition policies.

France: The Ministry for the Ecological Transition focuses on climate change and energy policies.

Spain: The Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge handles energy transition.

Uruguay: Energy transition falls within the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mining.

Indonesia: The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources manages energy transition.

United States: John Podesta serves as the “climate czar,” coordinating energy and climate policies.

Question for practice:

Examine the current challenges faced by India’s government departments in managing energy policies.

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