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

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A Critical Evaluation of Green Energy Policies

Sustainability Crisis

 

In recent years, Punjab is attempting to move towards a more sustainable development trajectory, with a leading role in the bioenergy sector. This is a response to the deep sustainability crisis in the state, as a result of green revolution-based agrarian development strategy. This article attempts a critical evaluation of these bioenergy imperatives through a stakeholder perspective to analyse how far green energy can provide a sustainable energy future for the state.

Punjab was the epicentre of India’s green revolution based on high yielding varieties (HYV) seeds, intensive irrigation and widespread use of chemical inputs (Newman 2007). This strategy drastically transformed traditional agriculture, quadrupling agricultural yields and leading to Punjab being touted as the “breadbasket of India” (Murgai et al 2001). It became one of the most developed states in the Indian subcontinent, characterised by relatively high per capita income, developed infrastructure and low levels of poverty (Singh 2008).

This resource-intensive development strategy began to backfire by the 1980s. It was based on “targeting the best and leaving the rest.” While rich farmers continued to invest in expensive agricultural inputs, small and medium farmers found it increasingly difficult to do so. Agricultural production dwindled; while the cost of production began to rise rapidly (Singh 2016). There was little industrial development in the region, as the singular focus of the development policy was agriculture. Small and marginal farmers continued to practice this unsustainable model of agricultural development, resulting in declining yields, mounting cost of production and increased incidence of farmer indebtedness (Kaur 2010).

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Updated On : 20th Jan, 2017

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