Boston, India’s economy will continue its momentum despite demonetisation and achieve an eight per cent growth next year, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has said.
“Last November, we demonetised 85 per cent of our currency in circulation and even after that India’s GDP continues to grow. According to recent data, growth for the September- December quarter stood at 7 per cent,” Pradhan said in his keynote address at the 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Conference here yesterday.
Pradhan expressed confidence that India will “exceed” seven per cent overall growth rate this year and “achieve 8 per cent in the next year”.
Addressing students, faculty, energy analysts and experts at the MIT conference titled ‘Balance of Power: The Changing Energy Paradigm’, Pradhan underscored the Narendra Modi government’s emphasis on energy justice linked with climate justice.
“In India. we want to create a new energy story. We are committed to energy justice. Our approach has been holistic and covers conventional and alternate sources of energy with a view to promote Prime Minister Modi’s vision of energy justice to all linked with climate justice,” he said.
Pradhan, who is on a two-day visit to Boston, also addressed students at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
During the packed day, he held talks with top city officials and energy experts, including former US Secretary of Energy and now a professor at MIT Ernest Moniz and Professor Henry Lee at Harvard.
He also visited the MIT Energy Lab and saw the cutting- edge research on carbon capture being done by students and researchers, many of whom are of Indian-origin.
He will leave for Houston later after an interaction with students at Tufts University.
Addressing the MIT conference, Pradhan said, “global warming is real” and India still has millions of its citizens without access to energy.
The country is determined to provide energy to all its citizens, doing so in a sustainable manner, he said.
“We will continue to depend on coal. However we will gradually shift to gas and renewables,” he said, adding that India believes in climate justice and will grow without harming the environment.
“We want to grow, however, we want to grow sustainably,” he said, reiterating the government’s target to provide electricity to all by 2018 and noting that majority of the power will be coal-based.
“Our dependence on coal will continue as we provide one of the most basic rights of modern world to all the citizens of India,” he said.
In the longer term, India will target to increase the share of natural gas to 20 per cent by 2030, Pradhan said.
He said coal provides 60 per cent energy to India and dependence on coal will continue.
Outlining measures taken by the government to make India energy efficient and sufficient, he said India is taking steps to reduce disparity in gas access and is doubling gas pipeline lane. To tackle the problem of vehicular pollution, India will move to BS VI, equivalent to the Euro norms, by 2020.
During his lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Pradhan outlined the Modi government’s vision and policies to achieve energy access, energy efficiency, energy sustainability and energy security.
“We have to have energy security. We are depending on technology, on innovations and we are augmenting on domestic production. India is prepared to lead itself into the global hydrocarbon landscape,” he said.
Pradhan termed the killing of 32-year-old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in a hate crime shooting as “unfortunate”.
Rahul Srinivasan, a student of Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a co-chair of the India Conference at Harvard University, said India’s energy consumption is going to exponentially increase and it has the challenge of providing affordable and clean energy to its citizens.
“Many developing countries are looking at India, at what India is going to do in the next few years to address this challenge,” Srinivasan said.
The world will be looking at how India will strike a balance between traditional fuels as well as renewables while fulfilling its energy needs, he said.