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India should harness its new hydrogen economy: Suresh Prabhu

During an industry webinar on Saturday, India's Sherpa to the G20 emphasised on the need of investment and revival of hydrogen and circular economy

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With the world moving towards more green ecosystems and environment-friendly practices, especially in businesses, India through its various strategies and schemes is working towards a safer and green manufacturing hub.  

Suresh Prabhu, India Sherpa to the G20 during an industry event on Saturday said, “83 per cent of the world's biodiversity has been lost. In the coming years, there’ll be more plastic than fish in the oceans. As it affects the whole of humanity, growth and green should go hand-in-hand. Climate change is coming like a Tsunami and we need to prepare ourselves for this.”

India has huge potential and opportunity to move towards green ecology and can be a driving force towards its growth. While Prabhu emphasised on the need of having a hydrogen economy, Narendran TV, President-Designate CII and CEO & MD, Tata Steel said, " There is a  need for carbon-efficient public infrastructure."

In October 2016, India pledged to reduce 33-35 per cent of its 2005 carbon emission intensity by 2030. Emphasising on the circular economy as the way forward for the country to decrease the carbon emission, Prabhu said, "Our country has diverse talent, we need to utilise our own resources.” 80 per cent of the material required to make green infrastructure is imported. Hence, we require more investment in infrastructure and R&D of green manufacturing including carbon storage, added former Union Minister.  

A recent survey by TERI indicates that due to Covid-19 led pandemic, the power sector is likely to witness a reduction of 5-10 per cent energy demand in the next five years. In support of this, Prabhu added that India should harness its new hydrogen economy, steel-making, cement making and renewable energy due to its immense capability and opportunities of growth. 

While India also has a strong market for semiconductor-based energy and products, it hasn't been much explored over the years. “Industrial policies in the last few years have involved several stakeholders, but to add India to the global value chain of semiconductors, is something we haven’t explored,” said Prabhu.  

The consumption of modern renewables including hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, etc. have increased in the last 50 years. Countries have utilised these resources to shift towards greener energy, thus decreasing the carbon footprint. Brands now understand the need for being more environment-friendly and shifted their business models towards green technology. 

“While countries have transformed their business models to become a valuable input in the global value chain, high-end brands have fundamentally moved towards solar energy, wind energy, etc. We need more investment to become an important asset of the global value chain,” said TV

Various sectors and industries have shifted towards Prime Minister's vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, Prabhu said, “ Through self-reliance in growth led manufacturing, we need to promote ourselves as the manufacturing capital of the world.” 

The concept of the circular economy is not new to India. It is estimated that India's circular economy path could bring in annual benefits of 40 lakh crores by 2050. It could lead to a reduction of carbon emissions by 44 per cent along with a significant reduction in congestion and pollution. 

Discussing how can India become a circular economy, Prabhu said, “ We need to create efficient scrap recovery systems, thereby encouraging recycle and reuse. India requires huge investment to store and transport hydrogen. Due to its diversification and geographical advantage, India has immense scope of multiple solutions to store and reuse carbon capture.

Prabhu ended saying that ecosystems which are greener, the government has always supported them. Through self-reliance, reforms in ease of doing business, cost of doing business, India has achieved various milestones. However, we still have a competitive market to deal with.   

The session was encapsulated in memory of Late Professor CK Prahlad’s vision of innovation by the industry body Confederation of Indian Industry. Prahlad was one of the world’s most influential business thinkers and professor at the University of Michigan.    

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