Press Release

Experts, Policymakers, Activists to Discuss Energy Finance in India

Chennai, August 14, 2019: Senior policymakers, experts on energy policy, industry leaders, bankers, and activists are meeting to discuss a range of issues related to different facets of energy finance on August 16 & 17, 2019 at IIT-Madras. Topics for discussions include India’s energy trajectory; role of finance in energy transition; financial crisis in power DISCOMs; a secure, sustainable and innovative energy future; socio-economic costs of the Indian energy; state regulations and energy governance.

The two-day conference is jointly organised by the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Madras and the Centre for Financial Accountability, New Delhi.

Explaining the significance of this conference, Prof. Sudhir Chella Rajan, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences said: “A good understanding of the changing nature and critical role of finance in the energy sector is essential for building resilience towards present and future challenges. This is a timely gathering of key actors from government, academia and civil society to highlight the current concerns of finance in relation to sustainable energy in India.”

The conference is held at a time when the non-performing assets in the power sector are high, the government’s climate commitments are falling well below the targets, and the large utility scale renewable energy projects are facing opposition from local populations.

“The challenge before the government today is to evolve a secure, sustainable and innovative energy sector that would also resonate well with the country’s commitment in the Paris Agreement that resolves to follow a cleaner path towards the policy of electricity for all and economic development,” said Soumya Dutta, Advisory Board member, the UN Climate Technology Centre & Network.

The speakers at the conference include Vikram Kapoor, CMD, TANGEDCO; M.G. Devasahayam, former Member and Chairman, Haryana State Electricity Board; VP Raja, former Chairman of the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s Expert Appraisal Committee on Thermal Projects and Coal Mining; Shuboday Ganta, Associate Vice President, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young; Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, veteran journalist and filmmaker; Rishabh Jain, Manager – Market Intelligence, Centre for Energy Finance, Council on Energy, Environment and Water;  Ashok Shreenivas, Senior Fellow at Prayas (Energy Group);  K. E. Raghunathan, MD, Solkar Solar Industry Limited; Svati Bhogle, CEO, Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE); Nitin Sethi, Business Standard; Vibhuti Garg, Energy Economist, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis;  Dr Thomas Franco, former General Secretary, All India Bank Officers Confederation;  Nityanand Jayaraman, writer and researcher; Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group; Bhargavi Rao, Independent Researcher; among others.

“Power sector, whether DISCOM or generation, today is undergoing severe financial crisis. This has overall impacted the banking sector. The rush for development had forced public sector banks to recklessly lend to the power and other core sectors. The two-day conference will not only deal with the financial impacts of the Indian energy policy and financial crisis in Power DISCOMs, but also the role finance can play in the transition towards sustainable energy transition,” says Dr Thomas Franco, former General Secretary, All India Bank Officers Confederation.

During the conference CFA’s annual report Coal Vs Renewables will be released. The report is the study of the investments made by the Public and Private Sector Banks on the coal and renewable energy in the calendar year 2018.

“Energy policies have a wider impact on the society, environment and economy. Thus it is important to integrate these costs to the Indian Energy Story. The Conference aims to deliberate on the energy justice framework to ensure access of marginalized sections to renewable and cost-effective energy resources,” said Joe Athialy, Executive Director of Centre for Financial Accountability.


As an emerging force in the global energy economy, it becomes imperative for a country like India to support its expanding economy by identifying energy as a cardinal determinant to achieving its developmental goals. The challenge before the energy policy-makers in the country today is to evolve a secure, sustainable and innovative energy sector that would also resonate well with the country’s commitment towards its climate pledges that resolves to follow a cleaner path towards economic development. Any transition to a process of sustainable development would invariably require the accompaniment of a judicious outlining of the energy policy that is compatible with the actual (and not projected) developmental needs of the country. Such a well-designed policy should also serve as the rationale behind the demand and supply of energy all across the country.

In the context of the rapidly growing demand for energy, which has set in to motion an ever increasing concern about the accompanying economic and environmental ramifications, it has to be spelt out that the need of the hour is an efficient and well-designed energy regime in the country. Such a systematized energy regime has to be mindful of the accessibility of the vast populace to energy resources, energy security of the poor and the repercussions on environment emanating from over projections of demands. As the energy policies of an incumbent government leave its mark on all sectors of the economy, there is the need for a larger dialogue on the need to judiciously maximise the security of energy supplies in the country to fuel development without burdening both man and the environment. The need to maintain a balance between the rationale and the motivations behind policy making in the Indian energy sector is hence at present at an all time high.

About us

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Madras 

The Department, founded in 1959, is one of the oldest in IIT Madras. It has master’s and doctoral programmes in a wide range of fields from across the humanities and social sciences, allowing for a rich interdisciplinary environment. Along with research and teaching, the Department has a commitment to societal outreach and policy engagement through workshops, conferences and other forms of public interaction.

Centre for Financial Accountability 

CFA engages in critical analysis, monitoring and critique of the role of financial institutions – national and international, and their impact on development, human rights and the environment, amongst other areas. CFA partners with civil society groups, social movements and community groups in trying to ensure that financial institutions are transparent and accountable to the people.

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