Thought Leaders Affirm the Need for Every Indian Household to Access Diverse Clean Cooking Solutions
Around 150 stakeholders of clean cooking energy, includingfield practitioners, policymakers and thought leaders convened in New Delhi atthe 4th India Clean Cooking Forum toemphasize on the national developmental imperative for achieving universalaccess and adoption of clean cooking technology for every Indian.
Over the last four editions, the Forum has successfullymainstreamed what Dr Arunabha Ghosh,CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, referred to as the'stepchild' treatment meted out to clean cooking access within the national aswell as global discourse on energy access. Speaking at the inaugural plenary,he also said, "There is need to adopt a complementary approach toincreasing clean cooking access including developing conducive policies as wellas encouraging technological and business innovations on the ground."
Sharing the stage with Dr Ghosh on the inaugural plenary was Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERIand Member, India Council, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. He said,"Apart from its adverse impacts on health, the very fact that we facebiomass resource scarcity should be an incentive to think of alternatives tobiomass usage. We need to critically look at the achievements of the biomass orbiogas sector in the current context and examine whether growth in thosesectors have reached a plateau or whether they still retain the potential forgrowth."
Mr. Anil Jain,Adviser, Energy, Climate and Overseas Investments at NITI Aayog , added,"The problem of encouraging intermediate solutions is simple enough on theface of it but also something that remains less acknowledged than it should be.It is clear that the government needs to promote multifuel stacking and a rangeof options to empower the consumer."
Mr. Ashutosh Jindal,Joint Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas remarked, "Thesuccess of the 'Give It Up' campaign has facilitated newer LPG connectionsunder the Ujjwala Yojana. We remain open to suggestions from the sectorpractitioners on ways of improving long-term adoption of clean cookingtechnologies on the ground and policies to ensure consumers benefit from cleancooking energy in a technology agnostic way."
The observations of these thought leaders were veryencouraging for practitioners and the organizers of the Forum including CleanEnergy Access Network (CLEAN), India's first and only network for decentralizedenergy access practitioners, GIZ, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves(GACC) ,Tata Trusts and World Bank.
Ms Svati Bhogle,Chairperson, CLEAN said, "This forum has thrown up the need to look atthe issue of clean cooking energy access from the perspective of both the enduser and the entrepreneur. While there is a great need to phase out thetraditional mudstove as well as learn from the experiences of LPG distributors,we cannot underestimate the need for intermediate solutions that can cater tothe market in ways that are affordable and accessible."
Mr Arijit Basu,Regional Director, GACC said, "The Alliance will continue toparticipate in strengthening the market for clean cookstoves and fuels inIndia. We will engage with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Healthand Family Welfare and New and Renewable Energy as well as support massbehaviour change campaigns and capacity building programs for clean cookingenterprises."
Dr ChandrashekharSinha, Lead Climate Change Specialist, World Bank said, "There isincreasing attention on the issue of clean cooking around the world from healthand climate change perspective. We do not have the solid biomass technology yetto obviate the negative impact of biomass fuels but the developments in thelarger field of renewable energy over the last few years have been verypromising. Achieving clean cooking goals requires support for technolgydevelopment, awareness creation and enhancing affordability. India cantherefore benefit from the Green Climate Fund and other sources of globalfinancing which are available for clean cooking."
Mr Ganesh Neelam,Head of Innovation Portfolio, Tata Trusts remarked, "Given the strongconnection between reduction of poverty and access to sustainable energy, TataTrusts support and implement energy projects that are replicable and scalable.Tata Trusts' Clean Cooking Initiative is working to create an ecosystem thatensures availability of social impact products such as clean cooking devices torural and tribal communities. We do this through innovative technologicalbusiness and financial solutions with the involvement of local communityinstitutions."
Dr Harald Richter,Programme Head, IGEN ACCESS remarked, "When looking back at the firstforum, which centred largely around technology and improved cookstoves, one canobserve that the debate - and the forum itself - has undergone an evolution.The focus is now on clean cooking energy instead of clean cookstoves signalingthat the discussion has become more technology agnostic and centers more onuniversal issues such as indoor air pollution, gender, climate change andhealth. This is also the case for GIZ's program and objective in India."