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Niti Aayog’s State Energy and Climate Index

Energy transition and climate change are central to the government’s vison of 'Amrit Kaal' to reinstate India’s commitment to sustainable development agendas. In order to mitigate the severity of the climate change, efforts are being made to accelerate clean energy adoption by incentivizing PV modules and promoting carbon neutral policies and interventions. The coming 25 years will be critical for India in its evolution as a clean energy economy producing opportunities that are aligned with sustainability and environmental consciousness.

In furtherance to India’s efforts to become a carbon neutral and holistically sustainable economy, Niti Aayog, THE premier government policy think tank, has launched its first ever ‘States Energy and Climate Index (SECI)’. The index ranks states and union territories (UTs) based on six parameters - the performance of distribution companies; access, affordability and reliability of energy; clean energy initiatives; energy efficiency; environmental sustainability and new initiatives, while covering 27 key performance indicators under them. The index highlighted that overall Gujarat has topped NITI Aayog's State Energy and Climate Index (SECI) among larger states, and has been followed by Kerala and Punjab, with Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh listed in the bottom on the index in terms of energy security, accessibility, and environmental sustainability. Among the UTs, Chandigarh, Delhi, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli performed best, while Andaman & Nicobar, Jammu and Kashmir, and Lakshadweep performed low on the index. Furthermore, among larger states, Haryana was ranked for best performance on the clean energy initiative, while Tamil Nadu was ranked for the highest performer in the energy efficiency area.

Climate action index is not a new thing and have been widely developed internationally to keep track of a country’s climate mitigation efforts to analyse and enhance its performance. But having a national climate action index can add to additional benefits. SECI will assist India by pushing it to improve its global ranking as it will enable states to enter into a competitive environment, encourage them to move towards energy transition and take all the necessary steps to achieve this. In a quasi-federal country like India, states play an integral part in facilitating policy interventions for achievement of national goals. Under SECI as well, the significance of involvement of states has been recognised as each state has a unique portfolio with regards to its natural resources and state authorities are in the best position to enable the optimum value creation from these energy resources. Thus, for effective use and application of SECI, states have been made the focal point for implementation of clean energy and climate change policies as they can foster effective coordination and synchronization with central programmes, as well as to encourage smooth proactive communication with the people of the states.

In the past few years, India has realigned itself with climate action and environmental sustainability. At COP 26 in Glasgow last year as well, India showed it commitment to mitigating climate change by outlining several energy targets and taking pledges for installment of increased renewable energy. By promoting a competition amongst states, SECI will stimulate faster implementation of these targets as it will enhance individual performance by wider adoption of clean energy endeavors like electric vehicles (EV), solar panels, etc. Furthermore, it will encourage state governments to take a close look at their climate action policies, improve them and bring investment in the area for maximum adoption. In the bigger picture, SECI will immensely aid India in rapidly achieving its ambitions during Amrit Kaal and in effectively advancing its score in global indices.

This has been co-authored by Mishika Nayyar and Bhamini Rathore.