- India’s Union Budget 2022-23 demonstrates a clear intent to prioritise investments in clean energy and sustainable development, in line with the country’s promises made at COP26 in Glasgow last year.
Allocation for Health and Education
- Health sector witnessed a 16% increase in estimated Budget allocations from last year
- Medical and public health spending was reduced by 45% for 2022-23.
- The education sector also witnessed an 11.86% increase in allocations.
- Despite these increases in estimates, health and education continue to share only about 2% each of budgetary allocations annually.
Significance of the role of reliable energy in health and education
- Availability of reliable electricity supply can improve the delivery of health and education services.
- 74% of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals are interlinked with universal access to reliable energy.
- Despite this, 44% of schools and 25% of India’s health sub-centres and primary health centres remain unelectrified.
- The lack of integration of electrification requirements in development sector policy documents may be partly due to
- Lack of information about electricity and development linkages,
- Poor coordination mechanisms between the sectors and departments, and
- Poor access to appropriate finance.
Focus on Multiple policies
- Multiple policies can complement each other to achieve the larger sectoral objectives.
- For example, in Assam, the Energy Vision document that lays out the electricity and development outcomes is to be applied in tandem with the Solar Energy Policy 2017 that operationalises this vision via an action plan.
- To successfully integrate electricity provisioning and maintenance, policy frameworks should include innovative coordination and financing mechanisms.
- Also provide local decision-makers with some authority to mitigate policy implementation barriers.
Remove burden over individual facilities
- Providing reliable electricity for health centres and schools should be the responsibility of centralised decision-making entities at the State or national level and not on the Individual facilities.
Increase budgetary allocation
- For policies to become transformative budgetary allocations, institutional structures, finance, information and coordination mechanisms should be focussed on.
Address Systemic gaps
- Governing the use of untied funds, need to be more flexible in allowing school and health facilities to prioritise providing reliable and sustainable electricity.