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NITI Ayog steps on gas for electric cooking in ‘powerful’ areas |

NITI Ayog steps on gas for electric cooking in ‘powerful’ areas

NEW DELHI: NITI Ayog does not seem to be content with the plan to make India move around in electric cars and buses by 2030. It has worked out a recipe for Indian kitchens, at least in cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi with reliable power supply, to switch over to ‘electric cooking’.

“The government should explore the prospects for switching over to electric cooking in areas where reliable supply of electricity already exists,” the government’s policy think-tank says in the ‘Three Year Action Agenda‘ released by finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday.

Ayog’s suggestion may be ahead of its time. Electric cooking is largely limited to the use of microwave ovens, toasters, grills and fryers in urban kitchens. Induction cook-tops and built-in electric ovens are still kitchen accessories in a minuscule number of households at the top of the economic ladder.

There are two factors that have prevented electric cooking from becoming popular in India, while it is common in the West. It is a common perception that electric cooking is not suited to Indian dishes, while utensils and appliance are expensive.

Besides, 24X7 uninterrupted power supply is still limited to a few cities, though at a national level the average duration of power cuts have come down by more than 61 % to 7.45 hours per month as of May, 2017 from 19.38 hours a month in May 2016.

On electric mobility, the Agenda calls for a cost-benefit analysis of adoption of electric vehicles in the coming years. “Though the cost of electric battery has declined recently, it still remains high. At the same time, its operating cost per-kilometre driven is lower and it contributes to cutting city pollution,” the Agenda said.

India has embarked on an ambitious electric vehicles programme under National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020, envisaging 6-7 million electric/hybrid vehicles in India by the year 2020 along with a certain level of indigenisation. Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, a company promoted by state-run power utilities, has already floated a tender for procuring 10,000 electric sedans to replace government vehicles in Delhi.

For streamlining industrial demand, the Agenda suggests reducing cross-subsidy in the power sector substantially so that industry may receive electricity at competitive prices. In the present tariff structure, industrial and heavy consumers are charged more to keep cost of power low for domestic consumers.

The document also say the momentum of gains from ‘Ujala’, the programme to replace inefficient lighting with efficient LED lamps, should be extended to ACs, fans and water pumps by 2019 and all appliances sold in the country should be brought under the efficiency standards and labelling programme.

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