nfrastructure and energy are two crucial enablers of economic progress, and the interim budget announced on February 1 shows that India is focusing strongly on them. This augurs well for industry because infrastructure and energy are not only closely linked, but also, to an extent, are dependent on each other.
Over the past few years, the central government has launched many important infrastructure development programmes. Furthermore, the outlay of ₹11.11 lakh crore for infrastructure in FY25, the availability of long-term, interest-free capital expenditure loans, and the implementation of three new railway economic corridor programmes – as announced in the budget – will hold the sector in good stead.
This massive infrastructure buildout will require huge amounts of energy, which, in turn, will necessitate an increase in generation from both coal-based and renewable energy sources. Coal-based generation will, therefore, increasingly make way for renewables, but this transition will happen over time, not overnight. So, even as we increase our renewable generation capacity, we need to find ways of making thermal power cleaner and more efficient.
As far as industries are concerned, there are many possible solutions that can help in achieving carbon neutrality. Regarding clean energy generation, the budget has taken a positive step in integrating biofuels into the mix. In rural areas, there is a strong case for decentralised energy solutions, in view of their potential to promote good health and well-being; enable access to education and healthcare; and catalyse entrepreneurship and employment opportunities. There is also potential to implement waste-to-energy initiatives that transform waste materials into energy resources – a fact that the Indian government acknowledges. This is evinced in the interim budget, which promises financial assistance for procuring biomass aggregation machinery. Coal gasification is another important inclusion in this process as it leads to the creation of value-added fuels. The target of establishing 100 MT of coal gasification and liquefaction capacity by 2030 is commendable, as is the push for wind energy and the phased blending of biogas into CNG and PNG.
Rooftop solar has the potential to make every consumer an active contributor to India’s clean energy growth.
The long-term monetary and environmental benefits of rooftop solar installations far outweigh the cost of installation and maintenance. And if a stronger incentive was needed for adoption, the interim budget offers 10 million Indian households 300 units of free electricity every month if they go in for rooftop solar installation. This, coupled with the focus on socio-economic priorities like skilling, health, energy security, reduction in compliance burden for MSMEs, and gender balancing in the labour force, will ensure no one is left behind.
India is emerging as a powerhouse in renewable energy services, innovation, and manufacturing.
To fulfil India’s demand, we will need reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy. To that end, and for rapid progress on the socioeconomic development agenda, infrastructure development and energy transition should go hand in hand. The indications are they will, and I am heartened to see that the interim budget has given these sectors the support they deserve.