India has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last two decades. Its economic growth, averaging at six percent between 1992 and 2001, and eight percent between 2002 and 2011, has seen it emerge as one of the fastest growing economies in the world today.
A second important trend is that of growing urbanisation within the country. India’s urban population, which was about 285 million in 2001, and 380 million in 2011, is expected to grow to over 600 million by 2030, comprising about 40 percent of its total projected population of 1.4 billion. Given the poor infrastructure of India’s present towns and cities – with woefully inadequate sewage, water, sanitation, roads, transportation, housing and other public facilities, especially for the urban poor – the growing spread of mostly unplanned urban settlements across the country is expected to further worsen this situation.
India’s total primary energy demand is expected to triple by 2030, making it the third largest consumer of energy in the world, after the United States and China. This scale of resource use and extraction is unlikely to happen without imposing signifi cant environmental costs. India’s power sector, for instance, which is and will remain heavily dependent on coal, will inevitably generate environmental externalities which will manifest themselves at different spatial scales – local, regional and global – including through increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.