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Saksham campaign

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    15th Mar, 2021

Recently, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched the month-long fuel conservation awareness campaign Saksham.

Context

Recently, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched the month-long fuel conservation awareness campaign Saksham.

Background

  • Fuel conservation has become highly important in the present scenario.
  • On the one hand, the petrol prices are for the first time, touching Rs. 100.
  • On the other hand, India’s oil imports are expected to rise to 90% by 2030 and 92% by 2040, as per the India Energy Outlook report, 2021.

India Energy Outlook report, 2021

  • India at present is the fourth-largest global energy consumer behind China, the United States and the European Union.
  • India accounts for nearly one-quarter of global energy demand growth from 2019-40 — the largest for any country. Its share in the growth in renewable energy is the second-largest in the world, after China.
  • India will overtake the European Union as the world’s third-largest energy consumer by 2030.
  • Energy use (in India) has doubled since 2000, with 80 per cent of demand still being met by coal, oil and solid biomass.

Analysis

What is Saksham Campaign?

  • It is a month-long awareness campaign launched by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA).
  • The Saksham campaign aims to create awareness about fossil fuels by highlighting the adverse health and environmental impacts of fossil fuels.
  • It mentioned the advantages of switching to cleaner fuels and bring in behavioural change to use fossil fuel more intelligently.
  • The campaign included various Pan-India activities such as cyclothon, farmer workshops, seminars etc.
  • The awareness campaign was started as an Oil Conservation Week in 1991.
  • Later in 1997, the program was converted into an Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight.
  • From 2017 onwards, it was renamed as “Saksham (Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav)” and getting conducted for a month.
  • This year the campaign launched on 16th January 2021.

About Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA)

  • Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) is a registered society set up under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India.
  • As a non-profit organization, PCRA is a national government agency engaged in promoting energy efficiency in various sectors of economy.
  • Key-objectives:
    • PCRA aims at making oil conservation a national movement.
    • As part of its mandate, PCRA is entrusted with the task of creating awareness amongst the masses about the importance, methods and benefits of conserving petroleum products & emission reduction.
    • It sponsors R&D activities for the development of fuel-efficient equipment / devices and organizes multi-media campaigns for creating mass awareness for the conservation of petroleum products.
    • To take the message to the people, PCRA uses all possible and effective media for mass communication.
    • To give impetus to the oil conservation movement, PCRA utilizes various platforms like the World environment day, World energy day, various festivals etc.
    • It functions as a Think Tank to the Government of India for proposing policies and strategies on petroleum conservation and environment protection aimed at reducing excessive dependence on oil.
    • For the benefit of various target groups of petroleum products, PCRA has developed literature containing simple ready to implement conservation tips and techniques.
      • Special low cost green leaflets have also been developed to educate the masses on the ill effects of pollution caused due to incomplete combustion and its impact on health.

Level of fuel usage in India

  • According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India imported 270 Million Metric Ton of crude oil worth $120 billion in 2019-20 alone.
  • Major consuming sectors: The sectors such as transport, industry, household and agriculture are four major sectors that consume the bulk of petroleum.
    • Transport sector: The transport sector is the largest consumer (50 per cent) of petroleum products in India. They mainly consume petrol and high-speed diesel. Road transport accounts for about 37 per cent of the total oil consumption.

High-Speed Diesel (HSD) and Light Diesel Oil (LDO)

  • HSD is normally used in high-speed diesel engines (runs above 750rpm). Such as commercial vehicles, stationary diesel engines, locomotives, and pumps etc.
  • LDO is used in slow-speed diesel engines (below 750 pm). Generally, it is used in Lift irrigation pump sets, Diesel Generator (DG) sets etc.
    • Industries: They consume about 16-20 per cent of the total oil products.
    • Agriculture sector: High-speed diesel and light diesel oil are the main petroleum products consumed in the agriculture sector. Apart from that, Naphtha is primarily used to produce fertilizers.
    • Household: Kerosene and LPG are two major oil products used in the domestic sector. It is generally consumed for cooking and heating in urban and semi-urban areas.

Important facts on fuel

  • Any substance which upon combustion produces a usable amount of energy is known as fuel. For example: fossil fuels, biogas, nuclear energy, etc. Fossil fuels include coal, natural gas and oil.
    • Coal is a combustible rock that is black in color. It runs in veins through the rock beneath the surface of the Earth.
    • Natural gas is a form of methane. It gets trapped in pockets where plant decomposition has occurred.
    • Crude oil, a liquid composed mainly of carbon and hydrogen, is often black, but exists in a variety of colors and viscosities depending on its chemical composition. 

What is the need to conserve fuel?

  • Environment conservation: Fuel conservation promotes environmental health. Lower fuel usage will reduce nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, Sulphur dioxide, ozone, and other hydrocarbon emissions.
  • Reducing effects of climate change: Further fuel conservation will reduce the total energy demand and production, reduce greenhouse gases, resulting in fewer oil spills, and fewer mining activities. Overall, fuel conservation will reduce the effects of climate change.
  • Budget friendly: Fuel conservation will save money and reduce the oil import bills of India. Fuel conservation will reduce the overall net crude oil imports and save India’s Forex reserves.

India Energy Outlook 2021 has mentioned India as the world’s second-biggest net oil importer after China. As per this report, India is currently importing about 76% of its crude oil needs.

  • Increase in energy sustainability: As fossil fuels like oil are non-renewable and depleting around the globe, its conservation will expand their availability for a longer period of time. Along with the research on alternative energy sources, energy sustainability can be ensured.
  • Easy escape from political vulnerabilities: Fuel conservation will reduce India’s dependence on politically vulnerable Middle Eastern region.

Middle Eastern region at present holds 48.3% of global oil reserves. But the region is vulnerable to various conflicts such as the Sunni-Shia conflict, Israel and Arab nations conflict, etc.

  • Better replacement: Fuel conservation will help in reducing peak oil demand. Apart from that, shifting towards clean energy alternatives can further reverse the end of the oil age theory.

End of the oil age theory

  • The end of the oil age is the theory first formulated in 2005.
  • According to it, oil age will end due to the fall in production of oil and its non-replacement along with skyrocketing prices.
  • But the theory was reversed recently after the US Shale gas revolution and the emergence of Electric vehicles after Paris Climate Summit.

Important Government initiatives to conserve fuel

The government introduced various policies aimed towards fuel conservation. Such as fuel efficiency norms for Heavy Commercial Vehicles and Light and Medium Commercial Vehicles.

  • LPG Panchayats: This scheme aimed at encouraging rural communities to turn to clean fuels instead of fossil fuels.
  • Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme: The government in 2003 introduced the EBP program. The programme aims to promote the use of alternative and environment-friendly fuels and reduce import dependency.
    • India has set a target of 10 percent ethanol blending in petrol by 2022.
  • In the transport sector various other initiatives for fuel conservation such as
    • introducing Bharat Stage (BS) standards
    • fixing the maximum speed of cars
    • improved road conditions
  • India is a signatory to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • As part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), India has three quantitative climate change goals –
    • reduction in the emissions intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) by 33 to 35% by 2030 from the 2005 level
    • achieving about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030
    • creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030

Suggestive Measures

  • Strict norms for transportation sector: There is need to introduce strict norms for the operation of transport vehicles at optimum speed, implement projects improving road conditions and remove traffic bottlenecks, especially in urban areas.
    • According to a report, these measures alone can save about 30-35 per cent of the fuel.
  • Better energy management: To reduce the demand for the industrial sector, the government has to encourage better energy management.
    • For example, government initiatives in the iron and steel industry, petrochemicals industries have reduced 21 and 32 percent of their fuel demands.
  • Infusing efficient technology in agriculture sector: In the agriculture sector government has to promote better farm machinery, efficient foot valves for lift irrigation, use of agro-residues, and other non-commercial sources of energy. This will reduce the fuel demand in agriculture.
  • Improved public transport system: The government needs to build a reliable, well-connected, sophisticated public transport system. Such a system must have the potential to cater to the needs of all sections of the society.
  • Shifting to better alternatives: To get a complete solution, apart from fuel conservation the country also need to shift to clean and green alternative energy sources. For example,
    • Promoting Solar machines like solar cookers, solar panel, solar water heaters, wherever it is feasible.
    • Promoting biogas as domestic fuel instead of kerosene and LPG.
    • Promoting the usage of Electric Vehicles and Ethanol as alternative fuels. At the same time, exploring the possibility of Hydrogen as a potential fuel.
  • Furthermore, the government can take numerous initiatives to reduce fuel demand but to see a real change people in India must be educated to reduce fuel consumption voluntarily, such as:
    • Promoting use of bicycles for shorter distances
    • Switching off engines in signals
    • Following the sedate driving style and traffic rules etc.
    • Promoting carpooling etc

Conclusion

The recent India Energy Outlook report mentions “India’s energy future depends on buildings and factories that India is going to build and the vehicles and appliances India is going to buy”. So it is high time for India to act on fuel conservation and Green energy initiatives to make India’s energy requirements sustainable.

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