The easy availability of electricity is a critical enabler of socio-economic growth in India, writes India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa.

The basic building block for sustained economic growth is now in place. From a chronically electricity-deficit country, India has, in a space of three short years, turned the power sector around – so much so, that not only does the country now have surplus power, it is also exporting electricity to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed Piyush Goyal as Minister of State for Power, Coal, Mines & Renewable Energy (Independent Charge) in 2014, India was reeling under a massive deficit of 87 billion Kwhs or 9 per cent of demand. Result: the economy was suffering long, daily power cuts and the use of diesel generators for back-up that sapped productivity and ate into corporate profitability.

There was little light visible at the end of the tunnel as India’s state-owned power distribution companies, or discoms as they are called, were also bleeding. With cumulative debts of more than $50 billion, they were having to borrow money just to keep their operations running, thus, pushing them further into debt.

This turnaround has made it possible for the Indian government to announce that it would be in a position to fulfil its election promise of providing power for all by next year – a full year ahead of schedule.

This is an incredible achievement. The easy availability of electricity is a critical enabler of socio-economic growth. Being the basic building block of prosperity, power is also the key enabler of several flagship schemes announced by the Prime Minister. There can be no Make in India, Digital India, Start-up India, Skill India or even Swacch Bharat without the provision of adequate electricity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of an educated and empowered nation would also have come to nothing without adequate electricity. Power, as we all know, is sine qua non for children to study, do their homework and prepare for examinations.

The rejuvenation of the power sector will have an impact far beyond the remit of the ministry itself as will help change the lives of millions that currently live, or till recently lived, in darkness.

Power, arguably, is the most critical component of the Prime Minister’s promise of providing jobs for the 10-12 million youth who join the Indian workforce every year. Key to accomplishing this goal is the aim of increasing the share of manufacturing from 18 per cent of GDP at present to 25 per cent of GDP by 2025.

Among several constraints that are holding up the growth of the manufacturing sector was the lack of adequate power to run the machines in thousands of small and medium enterprises that form the backbone of any economy and are the main incubator of the millions of low skilled jobs that really bring prosperity to people at the bottom of the pyramid. I have purposely left out large and heavy industries because they can afford to set up captive power plants or make provisions for back-up power from diesel generators.

But Minister Goyal himself will admit that his job is only half done. Almost a quarter billion Indians still do not have access to electricity in their homes. Turning this situation around and providing power to fuel the expected manufacturing boom in the coming years will consume the current surplus and call for additional sources of electricity.

This is where the Prime Minister’s ambitious target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 will come into play. Achieving this target will not only to enable India to meet its emission goals under the Paris climate accord but also to meet the additional demand that improving economic growth and rising numbers of power consumers will generate.

There will be challenges, for sure. Financing large projects in India remains an issue as the banking sector, which is in the throes of a bad loan crisis, is unable to provide large volumes of credit. Then, the issue of balancing the infirm power that wind and solar plants generate – the potential this has to destabilise the grid – has not yet been resolved.

But neither of these problems is insurmountable and there is every reason to be optimistic that solutions will be found.

This edition of ‘India Investment Journal’ tracks Minister Goyal’s mega power challenge as he travels around the world to scout for investments, besides the usual cross-sector coverage.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

India Inc. hosted the inaugural UK-India Awards in London, where senior British and Indian ministers called for closer ties in a post-Brexit scenario.

London: UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pushed for a speedy conclusion of a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UK at the inaugural UK-India Awards in London on May 12.

“Whenever we go to India, we have to pack bottles of whisky because as you know there is a duty of 150 per cent in India on Scotch whisky. But imagine what we could do if there was a free trade deal with India,” Johnson told a packed audience of high-profile parliamentarians, entrepreneurs and senior executives.

India’s power minister, Piyush Goyal, was on a European investment scouting mission recently and opened up a series of avenues for FDI into the power sector in Vienna and London.

India’s Minister for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal, was on a European tour in early May to lure Austria and the UK to look at investing more in India.



At the Vienna Energy Forum, the discussion revolved around the world’s largest energy transformation programme which is currently being pioneered by India. Goyal asserted that no country can offer the kind of scale and speed that India has in terms of financing and technical capabilities. Goyal also urged the global community to link low-cost technology, renewable energy and sustainable lifestyles.

As India edges towards its ambitious renewable energy target, the next challenge will be effective energy storage solutions that can be made in the country.

India has embarked on an ambitious programme of accelerating renewable energy deployment in the country. The target for renewable energy has been expanded multi-fold to 175 GW by 2022. A major part of the target is going to be from solar PV (100 GW) and wind energy (60 GW) and the rest from small hydro and biomass plants (5 and 10 GW respectively).

India’s minister for petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, is a man on a mission. He recently concluded his global roadshow series to attract investments into the country’s small oil fields discovered by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH). In this exclusive interview, He talks ‘India Investment Journal’ through the paradigm shift in the Indian energy market under the Narendra Modi led government and how he hopes to achieve energy justice in India.

Dharmendra Pradhan has learnt quickly on the job and proved Prime Minister Modi’s bet on this new minister in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was a good one.

Dharmendra Pradhan was only in his mid-40s when he was appointed petroleum and natural gas minister in the Narendra Modi government in May 2014. It was a big leap of faith on the part of the Indian prime minister, and the placing of a large responsibility on the shoulders of a young and talented political colleague who was nevertheless a first-time minister.

Though cut from the same cloth, the eldest in the next generation of the Munjal family has taken a divergent route from his predecessors. A staunch advocate of reversing the ill effects of climate change, Rahul Munjal is quickly gaining prominence in the green economy and already has India’s largest rooftop solar installation and first certified commercial green bond to his name. Inspired by his father who founded what was to become world’s largest two wheeler maker–Hero MotoCorp, the junior Munjal is hoping his venture would be as successful in its own way.

On October 23, 2014, Pawan Munjal, the chairman and CEO of Hero MotoCorp world’s largest two wheeler manufacturer was busy showcasing the company’s new factory in Neemrana to a select group of media persons. The facility with a capacity to make 7.5 lakh units every year was Hero’s fourth in the country and one of the most modern and sophisticated two wheeler manufacturing facilities. Due to be inaugurated the following day, Munjal was at pains to explain how this factory was unlike any other. Before the journalists could be taken to the shop floor—the heart of any automotive facility where the assembly of vehicles takes place—Munjal escorted all of them to the roof of the building.

A leading solar sector expert analyses the factors behind India’s renewables revolution for ‘India Investment Journal’.

From a miniscule 10MW energy generation capacity in 2010 to 8GW in 2016, is a giant leap that the Indian solar sector has successfully made. Reduction in costs and increased global demand for solar installation have played a major role in giving India a prominent place in global solar sector, but there are a few more components that have contributed to such revolutionary success.

India’s minister for science & technology and earth sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, was in the UK recently for the fifth Indo-UK Science and Innovation Council (SIC) meeting. The two sides clinched a crucial agreement to work together as R&D partners in Solar Alliance. He gives details of the deliberations to ‘India Investment Journal’ after his talks with UK counterpart, Jo Johnson.