India has 75 million households without access to electricity and per capita consumption in rural households was only 8 units per month as compared 24 units in urban households, according to an expert report submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The report, submitted by a network of parliamentarians working to promote renewable energy, also says India is endowed with huge renewable energy (RE) resources, but the country's per capita energy consumption is one of the lowest in the world.
"The reason for such low level of consumption is not low demand, but poor access to energy. Inspite of a number of programmes and schemes for rural electrification India has one of the lowest levels of access to modern energy," says the report "RE-Energising India: Policy, Regulatory and Financial Initiatives to Augment Renewable Energy Deployment in India".
In their signed memorandum given to the Prime Minister along with the report, the parliamentarians have asked the government to establish a National Clean Energy Access Mission, mainstream renewable energy in government schemes, and enactment of Renewable Energy Act to be administered by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and mobilisation of low cost funds for the renewable energy sector.
"The Renewable Energy Act should be enacted to make provisions for the off-grid applications such as solar heating and cooling, renewable energy in transport, heating and cooling, promotion of bio-energy and bio-fuels, off-grid generation and rural electrification, grid connectivity and transmission planning' and others," they said.
A National Renewable Energy Policy should also be prepared by the New and Renewable Energy Ministry, it says.
"...The government should urgently 'establish a National Energy Access Mission (NEAM) aimed at providing modern and clean energy to all in sufficient quantity at affordable prices," the memorandum said.
The memorandum was signed by MPs belonging to "Climate Parliament" group. They include J D Seelam and Jhansi Lakshmi Botcha (Congress), Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Sanjay Jaiswal (BJP), K P Ramalingam (DMK), Vandana Chavan (NCP), Anup Kumar Saha (CPI -M), Shashi Bhusan Behera (BJD), Jayant Chaudhary (RLD) and Ali Anwar Ansari (JD-U).