Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya has proposed electricity as a clean cooking alternative to LPG, saying the cost-effective, emission-free energy will reduce pollution as well as India's dependence on petroleum imports.
he comments come at a time when the Narendra Modi-led government is preparing a clean cooking strategy for the country. "The country aims to achieve universal electrification by 2022. Theoretically, if electric cooktops were adopted, universal electrification could translate into universal clean cooking as well," Panagariya said in a blog, co-authored by Aayog's energy adviser Anil Jain.
The 2016-17 Budget has proposed to extend LPG connections to 5 crore BPL families over the next three years. "However, there is a total of over 12 crore households without a clean cooking solution, so that a strategy based on LPG alone may take a long time to get there," the blog said, adding that it, therefore, makes good sense to include electricity in the overall clean cooking strategy.
India imports 50% of its domestic LPG requirement and international prices of oil and gas are volatile, making another case for considering greater use of electricity for cooking.
According to a NITI Aayog study, consumption of 8-10 LPG cylinders (14.2 kg each) per year is equivalent to electricity consumption of nearly 4 kWh per day. This implies that at prevailing electricity prices, the electric solution will cost about the same as LPG if crude oil price remains around $60 per barrel.