GSI Seminar – Engaging Civil Society in India on Energy Subsidy Reform

BANGALORE - 30 March 2012 - The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) convened a half-day workshop to discuss the opportunities and barriers to reforming fossil fuel and electricity subsidies.

India has subsidized fossil-fuels and electricity for decades in an effort to shield consumers from volatile energy prices and to improve access to energy. However, energy subsidies have unintended consequences for the economy, the environment and social equity. They strain public finances, increase CO2 emissions, and benefit wealthier citizens far more than the poor. 

Yet eliminating fossil-fuel and electricity subsidies poses considerable challenges. In a country where approximately one-fourth of citizens live below the poverty line, energy access and affordability are critical factors for development. Poor households, which typically spend a larger share of their income on energy, are highly vulnerable to spikes in fuel prices.

The workshop drew from the newly published Citizens’ Guide to Energy Subsidies in India to discuss:

  • The scale and nature of India’s energy subsidies
  • The impacts these subsidies have on the lives of Indian citizens
  • The experience of other countries that have succeeded, or failed, to reform their energy subsidies

The workshop was also an opportunity to engage civil-society in a vigorous debate on the risks and benefits of reforming fossil-fuel subsidies.

Speakers and presentations:

Anmol Soni, Research Officer, TERI
A Citizens' Guide to Energy Subsidies

Shri R Desikan, Founder Trustee, Consumer Association of India

Dr. D K Subramanian, President, Foundation for Advancement of Education Research, Dean and Professor, Indian Institute of Science
Effects of Subsidies

Mathew Thomas, Citizens Action Forum
Energy Subsidies and Economic Policy





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