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Linking renewable energy to rural development

New Delhi: Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal, Member of Parliament and Convener of the Climate Parliament India, has asked the Minister of Rural Development, to scale up the use of renewable energy in rural areas to ensure energy access and availability. In a letter written today to the Minister for Rural Development Mr. Choudhary Birender Singh, the MP suggested that the rural development ministry should have a budgetary provision for renewable energy interventions in existing and new schemes, starting with around 5% of the Ministry’s total budget in this year. In addition, he called for the creation of a green/renewable energy office within the Ministry to coordinate directly with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for any potential integration of plans and policies.

Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal in his detailed letter to the Minister also outlined the specific areas and programs in which renewable energy applications are possible. According to the MP, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGS), National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan (NBA), Indira Aawas Yojana (IAY) and Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) are some of the important government programs where renewable energy must be integrated.

The MP also suggests that the Ministry should undertake a review of existing programmes to assess the need and scope for specific renewable energy interventions to ensure successful on-the-ground implementation of the programme.

According to Sanjay Jaiswal, the Ministry of Rural Development in coordination with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy should also work closely with various State Governments to develop and introduce innovative models for the promotion of renewable energy related initiatives at the state level, and at the same time also establish a support channel with local groups and NGOs in planning, implementing and monitoring integrated rural energy and rural development programs.

It is time that all Ministries join hands and put a well co-ordinated effort to support the vision of the Prime Minister of putting renewable energy through large scale initiatives in order to address the severe power shortages in India. The letter says that the MoRD can be instrumental in supporting the MNRE to increase and scale up the reach of renewable energy through the Ministry’s understanding and network in rural areas.

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