Energy in the development strategy of Indian households: The Missing half
There is a growing consensus that universalisation of modern energy services is central to reducing major elements of poverty and hunger, increasing literacy and education, and improving health care, employment opportunities, and lives of women and children. In India, more than 700 million people lack access to modern energy services for lighting, cooking, water pumping and other productive purposes. Without these services people-most often women-are forced to spend significant amount of their time and energy on subsistence activities. This acts as a barrier to the gender development. Although the links between gender, poverty and energy have been studied by many authors, not many have come out with practical solutions. The present paper explores the nexus between gender-energy-poverty, highlights areas of gender concern, and suggests actions. We analyse how women from rural areas and low income households are at the receiving ends of energy poverty. We then analyse the roles of different stakeholders in universalizing modern energy services with specific emphasis to women. We argue 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 prescriptions of sustainable development and gender empowerment through energy solutions.
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