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India: National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) and The National Electricity Policy (NEP)

The central government in India predominantly holds legal authority to develop and implement national GHG mitigation policies and programs, but states also play a significant role.

One of the key regulations with implications for GHG mitigation is the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) released on 30th June 2008. The NAPCC attempts to build a single framework for the policies and programs, which existed when it came into force as well as  future ones, which are directed at climate change mitigation, adaptation and knowledge management. The plan identifies 8  “national missions” that forms its core.

These are:
a) National Solar Mission
b) National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
c) National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
d) National Water Mission, National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
e) National Mission for a “Green India”
f) National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture and
g) National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.

As for NAPCC’s practical execution, in 2009 the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change called upon all the states in the country to prepare State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs) consistent with the strategy outlined in NPACC. The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, (MoEF&CC) was assigned as the Nodal Ministry for Climate Change in India and undertook the assignment of providing guidance and technical assistance to the state governments in this endeavour.

The NAPCC’s seven missions have achieved significant results in their respective domains, which in-turn has lead to positive contributions being made towards GHG mitigation. For example: the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), which was launched under the NAPCC in 2010 with the objective of achieving grid parity by the year 2022,  produced 2,970 MW of grid-connected solar generation capacity, 364 MW of off-grid solar generation capacity, and 8.42 million sq. meters of solar thermal collectors has been installed till date. The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture has brought about the development of 11,000 hectares of degraded land. One million hectares have been brought under micro-irrigation to promote water efficiency.

Apart from the NAPCC there is in place the National Electricity Policy (NEP) that the Government of India put out in 2005. It has also achieved considerable impact on reducing GHG in the country. The policy came about as a result of the Electricity Act of 2003, which requires state electricity boards to facilitate the supply and distribution of renewable energy, along with traditional electricity. The policy is administered by the Ministry of Power (MoP) and envisions a progressive increase in the share of electricity from nonconventional sources.

The NEP outlines a plan for rural electrification with increased generation capacity. It states “maximum emphasis” for the development of hydro power, stipulates for clean use of thermal power by using low-ash coal, improving lignite mining, and increased use of natural gas and nuclear power. It lays out recommendations for improving efficiency of the power grid in the country with better transmission and distribution of power. It also calls for the use of the most efficient technologies and more funding for R&D.
As a result, the long-term decline in the ratio of CO2 to GDP appears to have slowed or halted recently. This is important because India’s voluntary international commitments for emissions are couched in terms of a long-term decline in the ratio of emissions to GDP.

The aforesaid policies that India has implemented, although relatively successful, however have not tuned out as silver bullets for reigning over the problem of increasing GHG emissions in the country. These policies basically have been experiments on the part of the India’s central government authorities to continue with the economic development of the country while simultaneously treading on the path of climate change mitigation in the future. Change needs to be divested among all stake-holding actors in the country.

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–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Hriday Sarma


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