India's Achilles' heel remains the tremendous deficit that it faces on the energy front. Recent report from the NCAER estimates that the rural households of India don't have electricity supply for almost 13-17 hours a day!
• Incentivise states to shift to gas based public utility services
• Incentivise the utilisation of coal bed methane.
• Absolutely do away with subsidies on fuel
• Promote non-conventional energy resources
• Have cross-border pipelines for gas import
• Liberalise the licensing policy for exploration of gas
But even urban households do not fare better with the situation being marginally better in metros like Delhi and Mumbai. Apart from the hiccups at the production front, the biggest loss up to 33% has been under the T&D (Transmission and Distribution losses; a euphemism for power theft) category. Only around 60% of the power produced is billed, while 45-50% of the overall amount is paid! Apart from theft, the power generation has also been at the lower end with estimates suggest almost 12% lesser supply than the demand in India. These figures ably explain as to why much of India remains without electricity. It must be highlighted here that only 44% of rural households have access to power and the national average is 56%.
On another front, with India having to import nearly 70% of the total oil consumption, it's choices have been limited. Lack of thrust then on a pile of 240 billion tonnes of estimated coal reserves then defies logic. Even in oil sector, despite the exploration by the likes of ONGC, Reliance and GHCL (Gujarat Hydro Carbons Limited) to discover a substantial proportion of natural gas in Kakinada-Godavari basin and off the Gujarat Coast, much needs to be done to have a gas-based economy of future.
What India then needs is not only reforms on the distribution front, but also radical changes for creating a profile of the sources from where the energy needs would be met.