MNRE Drafts Policy to Promote DRE Livelihood Applications in Rural Areas

In order to promote DRE livelihood applications in rural areas of the country a draft policy framework is being proposed by MNRE

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has notified that in order to promote Decentralised Renewable Energy (DRE) livelihood applications in rural areas of the country a draft policy framework is being proposed (to be brought by the Ministry) to provide a conducive environment for development and large-scale adoption of these applications.

The ministry defines DRE livelihood applications, as applications powered by renewable energy, which are used for earning livelihoods directly such as solar dryer, solar-powered cold storage/chillier, solar charkha, etc., or which help in earning livelihoods such as solar lighting systems.

One of the main objectives for the new policy framework, as the ministry stated, is that in recent years, a wave of innovators and entrepreneurs has come up with a variety of decentralised renewable energy (DRE) livelihood applications, which are not only energy-efficient but also economically viable in rural settings.

“Modular design of such DRE livelihood applications ensures scalability without large investments,” the ministry stated.

Need for Renewable Energy Based Rural Livelihoods

There are successful pilots and business models of DRE livelihood applications in agriculture, agro-processing, dairy, poultry, fisheries, tailoring, etc., which have been tested at the field level by various agencies and have the potential to be replicated in large quantities. However, this is still only a small fraction of the overall spectrum of livelihood activities across the 600,000 villages in India.

Against this background, there is a need to:

  1. Scale-up the currently available DRE livelihood applications in rural areas
  2. Explore the development of new DRE livelihood applications in rural areas

MNRE further stated that Ministries like, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Women and Child Development, etc., are implementing various schemes in rural areas that support livelihoods directly or indirectly. And that the integration of DRE livelihood applications with these schemes will promote the use of such applications. Promotion of DRE livelihoods applications in rural areas becomes even more relevant because of their potential to create jobs.

To promote DRE livelihood applications in rural areas, following interventions are proposed under this framework:

  • Enable a market-oriented framework to attract the private sector for the development and deployment of DRE livelihood applications
  • Easy access to end user finance for DRE livelihood applications
  • Introduction of standards, stringent monitoring and evaluation frameworks
  • Skill development for strengthening the service infrastructure at the local level
  • Encourage innovation and R&D to develop efficient and cost-effective DRE livelihood applications.

Furthermore, in the frat framework the ministry has proposed the following seven steps to be taken up for the promotion of DRE livelihood applications:

  1. Assessment of Demand: Assessing the possibilities or potential of deployment of DRE livelihood applications across sectors of the rural economy and across regions.
  2. Research & Development and Standardisation: Innovation, research and development of DRE technologies to offer tailor-made solutions is important for widespread adoption.
  3. Pilot and Up-scaling of DRE livelihood applications: Piloting and field demonstration of new DRE livelihood applications is vital to ascertain the success of any technology innovation on the ground.
  4. Access to Finance: MNRE will pursue with financial institutions for credit facilitation.
  5. Skill Development & Capacity Building: DRE livelihood applications have the potential of creating new local job opportunities in operations & maintenance and installation/fabrication.
  6. Public Information and Awareness: Awareness about the appropriate DRE technologies and related services amongst the relevant stakeholders is required for taking necessary decisions.
  7. Programmes of Various Ministries/ Departments: It is pertinent to identify and exploit opportunities for DRE livelihood applications under schemes of various Ministries and Department of Central/State Government.

Comments/ suggestions have been invited from concerned stakeholders on the draft policy framework. The deadline for submission is November 2, 2020.

The draft policy framework can be viewed by clicking here.

[Updated October 21, 2020]

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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