Energy in the development strategy of Indian households—the missing half
AbstractThere is a growing consensus that universalization of modern energy services is central to reducing major elements of poverty and hunger, to increase literacy and education, and to improve health care, employment opportunities, and lives of women and children. In India, as per 2011 census, over 700 million people lack access to modern energy services for lighting, cooking, water pumping and other productive purposes. Devoid of these services people, mostly women, are forced to spend significant amounts of their time and effort on subsistence activities like firewood collection, carrying these head load for miles, and then burning these hard earned fuels inefficiently in traditional chullas. These adversely affect the health and standard of living for women and act as a barrier to gender development (here ‘gender’ means women unless otherwise specified). Although the links between gender inequity, poverty, and energy deprivation have been studied by many, not many practical solutions to the above problems have emerged. The present paper explores the nexus among gender–energy–poverty, highlights areas of gender concern, and suggests actions. We analyze how women from rural areas and low income households are at the receiving ends of energy poverty. We then analyze the roles women as an important stakeholders in universalizing modern energy services. We show how women self-help groups can be a vital link in large-scale diffusion of energy-efficient and renewable technologies. The paper concludes with policy pointers for sustainable development and gender empowerment through energy solutions.
Domestic energy sector; Gender; Self help groups; Entrepreneurs; Energy poverty;