The use of solid biomass in inefficient traditional stoves is a major cause of household air pollution in India and is an important source of degrading air quality. World Health Organization estimates that household air pollution is cause of more than 1 million premature deaths every year in India. The India Energy Security Scenario 2047, developed by NITI Aayog, highlights that even in the best case scenarios, by year 2047, Indian households would be relying on a mix of clean cooking energy sources and biomass and biogas would play a key role in meeting clean cooking energy needs of rural households. The best case (heroic effort) scenario predicts that by 2047 approximately 20% households would still be dependent on biogas and biomass for their clean cooking needs. This necessitates an emphasis on developing strategies and technologies for delivering clean cooking energy from biomass and biogas.
In India, the existing improved biomass cookstoves as well as biogas technologies are yet to meet users’ expectations in terms of ease of use, reliability, and performance. There are no biomass cookstoves that meet the performance standards prescribed by the World Health Organizations guideline for household air pollution. Further, to meet the clean cooking for all objective, a new approach that leverages market based delivery mechanism and innovative financing is needed as subsidy based approaches are not very effective and scalable.
NITI Aayog is coordinating the work on achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and providing access to clean cooking energy is critical for achieving several SDGs. Furthermore, NITI Aayog is entrusted with the responsibilities of developing long term policy and programme frameworks and initiatives as well as to develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level.
The 100 million USD initiative of clean cooking for India by NITI Aayog aims to bring together and leverage different government initiatives and work with State governments to provide clean cooking energy for all. The ongoing initiatives such as Atal Innovation Mission and Startup India offer an unprecedented opportunity to address some of the critical barriers in provision of clean cooking energy for all. Technology development, leveraging social enterprises and innovative start-ups for addressing clean cooking challenges are the critical drivers for provision of clean cooking solutions for all. And, these drivers have a great synergy with the overall objectives and interventions visualized under Atal Innovation Mission and Startup India.
An integrated approach that leverages above-mentioned initiatives, along with the relevant programs of different ministries for delivering clean cooking energy can boost the efforts of all the stakeholders engaged in providing clean cooking solutions. NITI Aayog is in ideal position to develop a roadmap for clean cooking and pilot different delivery models with selected state governments for a subsequent nationwide implementation.
The initiative takes into account the comprehensive experience and learnings of MNRE, private sector and civil society organizations in promotion and dissemination of biomass cook stoves and biogas technologies and applies these learnings to provide an alternative clean cooking fuel for Indian households. The initiative design is based on several stakeholder consultations, expert inputs, learnings from previous clean cooking programmes, and sector reports – including the roadmap for clean cooking using advanced biomass stoves prepared as a part of a regional project by Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) / Asia Sustainable and Alternative Energy Program (ASTAE) program of the World Bank. The proposed initiative consists of the following key activities: