In order to achieve India's ambitious renewable energy and decarbonisation targets, the government must do more to enable low-carbon development at the local level, so that communities and neighbourhoods can build a clean energy revolution from below.
That's the message from a signed declaration, signed by Climate Parliament legislators from the states of Karnataka and Odisha, and submitted today to the Ministers of Power, Coal and Renewable Energy and Rural Development, as well as to the Speaker and Chairman of both chambers of the Indian Parliament.
The legislators - led by Prahlad Joshi MP, Arvind Bellad MLA, and Kalikesh Singh Deo MP - are calling on the government to make much-needed policy changes to existing programmes, including Narendra Modi's flagship Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana rural development scheme, to remove roadblocks that are slowing the implementation of low-carbon, environmentally sustainable projects in their constituencies. Insufficient financing, lack of information, weak local technical capacity and inadequate training, as well as on-going administrative barriers, are some of the areas in urgent need of intervention.
With 795 national MPs and thousands of state-level legislators, India has a ready-made army of passionate, dedicated community leaders, all of whom are keen to bring sustainable growth, new investment, and skilled jobs to their constituencies. With this in mind, the letter urges ministers to create a “Legislator Support Cell” within the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy or the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in order to assist legislators in accessing and accelerating development funding on the local level.
Legislators from the states of Odisha and Karnataka, supported by the Climate Parliament secretariat and with the assistance of leading energy consultancies, have already prepared Low Carbon Development Plans for their constituencies, with a focus on clean energy technologies not only for basic services but also for industry and commerce. The studies also examined what financial support would be required for the implementation of local low carbon development.
Based on the findings of the development plans, Climate Parliament legislators from the districts of Dharwad in Karnataka and Balangir in Odisha are pushing ahead with a range of innovative clean development programmes, including solar power for digital education, basic home lighting and drinking water pumps, household biogas units, and path-breaking “solar village” schemes.
Through the success of this, a clear convergence of ideas and objectives amongst different players for bottom up low carbon development can be demonstrated. As the legislators noted in their letter to the Ministers, "we can potentially witness an unprecedented scaling-up of low carbon development pathways springing from different corners of India."