ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A 'Dashboard' for the Indian Energy Sector

A first approximation of a multidimensional index assessing the energy sector in India would be a dashboard that would measure trends through five summary dimensions. Such a dashboard provides revealing insights, even in their condensed form.

Energy is among the key drivers of human development (Dixit and Nhalur 2010: 5). This is particularly true for countries such as India where increases in per capita energy consumption correlate well with improvements in human development levels as measured through the Human Development Index (HDI).1 Therefore, objective assessments of the energy sector are important to provide critical feedback to policy formulation, so that energy is harnessed effectively for human development. Given that energy production, transformation and consumption has impacts beyond the energy sector, such assessments must also consider energy’s relation to the socio-environmental context it is embedded in.

Many assessment methodologies in literature focus mainly on energy supply, i e, provision of affordable, reliable supplies of energy (Institute for 21st Century Energy 2012). Methodologies such as the “Energy Development Index” from the International Energy Agency (IEA) focus on energy consumption (IEA 2012), while others focus on the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption, particularly in the context of climate change (Sovacool et al 2011). We believe assessing the sector through any one of these lenses gives only a partial view of the sector, and thus provides potentially incomplete feedback to policy formulation. For example, focusing only on supply reliability may adversely affect environmental sustainability or providing universal energy access. Therefore, a multidimensional approach is appropriate to comprehensively understand the energy sector and its various trade-offs.

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