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National Summit: Powering Sustainable Livelihoods Explores Clean Energy Solutions for Rural Economic Transformation

Government officials, industry leaders, and experts from diverse sectors came together yesterday in New Delhi for the National Summit on Powering Sustainable Livelihoods. Powering Livelihoods initiative by CEEW and Villgro focuses on enhancing India's rural economy by expanding the adoption of clean energy-powered appliances for livelihood purposes.

Yash Saxena
National Summit: Powering Sustainable Livelihoods Explores Clean Energy Solutions for Rural Economic Transformation
National Summit: Powering Sustainable Livelihoods Explores Clean Energy Solutions for Rural Economic Transformation

The prestigious event took place at Kamal Mahal, ITC Maurya in New Delhi, serving as a prominent venue for the occasion. Distinguished individuals graced the event, including Jeevan K. Jethani, Senior Director at MNRE; Kanika Verma, Associate Vice President at Development Alternatives; Sridhar Easwaran, Head of Samunnati Foundation; Aparna Dua, Director at Asha Impact; and Abhishek Jain, Fellow & Director - Powering Livelihoods CEEW. The event was further honoured by the presence of R K Singh, Union Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, who joined later to add significance to the proceedings.

The panel, comprising well-informed and knowledgeable experts, engaged in extensive discussions centred around enhancing India's rural economy. Their primary focus was on scaling up the adoption of clean energy-powered appliances for livelihood purposes. The discussions aimed to explore effective strategies and approaches that would contribute to the economic growth of rural areas while promoting the use of sustainable energy solutions.

On being asked about how Samunnati looks at the new clean tech solutions Sridhar Easwaran said one of the important things that Samunnati looks at is the small farmers as they are always vulnerable. And Samunnati is giving those solutions not only looking at the credit perspective as such but they look at it in terms of the entire value. He also said, “We actually look at assessing the technology solutions by talking to the Enterprises and their business models on what value they will add.”

India's power minister, R.K. Singh, made a significant announcement at the event regarding the government's latest initiative. He revealed the introduction of a scheme specifically designed for distributed renewable energy-based livelihood applications, set to bring widespread benefits to numerous individuals across the nation. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has already extended its support to off-grid renewable energy applications like solar streetlights, solar lamps, and independent solar pumps. By combining distributed renewable energy sources with a diverse range of livelihood applications, clean and reliable power can be harnessed, simultaneously boosting user productivity and income levels. This initiative holds the potential to create a positive impact on both the environment and the livelihoods of countless individuals in the country.

In addition to the esteemed panellists, the KJ team had the privilege of engaging with industry experts during the event. These experts included Ananth Aravamudan, Sector Lead of Climate Action at Villgro Innovations Foundation; Srinivas Ramanujam, CEO of Villgro; Jeenan Lilani Bhargava, COO of Villgro Innovations Foundation; and several other notable figures. The interaction with these experts provided the KJ team with valuable insights and perspectives from leaders in the field.

During the event, Srinivas Ramanujam shared Villgro's longstanding vision. Over the past 22 years, Villgro has been actively involved in the agriculture sector with a primary focus on supporting small-scale farmers who own one or two acres of land. Their core objective has been to facilitate access to innovative solutions for these farmers, enabling them to maximize their earnings and generate greater value directly at their farm gates. Villgro's unwavering commitment to empowering small farmers has been instrumental in driving positive change within the agricultural community.

A small exhibition and live technology demonstration took place, showcasing an array of products from various brands. These products were either powered by solar energy or utilized solar-powered machinery. The exhibition provided an opportunity to witness firsthand the innovative solutions that harnessed solar power, highlighting the potential and advancements in renewable energy technologies.

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