UPSC MAINS 2019 : Access to Clean Cooking Energy and Electricity

Topic: Access to Clean Cooking Energy and Electricity

Topic in Syllabus: General Studies Paper 3: Indian Economy – Infrastructure



The Access to Clean Cooking Energy and Electricity – Survey of States (ACCESS) is India’s largest multidimensional survey on energy access.


More about on survey:

  • The largest panel-data on energy access in India, the survey is conducted across six of the major energy-access-deprived states in the country – Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
  • The 2018 study conducted by CEEW, with support from the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF) and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (National University of Singapore), covered more than 9,000 households from 756 villages in 54 districts collecting about 2.5 million data points.
  • The results from the first round of the study, ACCESS 2015, highlighted the need to look beyond connections to enable rural India’s access to modern forms of energy.
  • In 2018, revisited the households to understand the changes in their energy access situation over the last three years, and to study the impact of government policies during this period.
  • The study analyses energy access for households using a multidimensional, multi-tier framework.
  • Households are assigned tiers on the basis of their level of access to energy. Tier 0 indicates the lowest level of access and Tier 3, the highest.



The objectives of this study, which in a way unveils and presents the second round of the ACCESS survey data, are as follows:

  • To empirically test the multi-tier framework used in the first round to see if the framework lends itself to studying the evolving realities of A mix of cleaner cooking options needs to be promoted under a potential National Mission on Clean Cooking Energy Access.
  • The main motivation to conduct ACCESS 2018 is to shed light on the progress (or regression) along all dimensions of energy access  5 energy access on the ground, and the extent to which it captures the nuances, otherwise lost, of changes over time.
  • Given the rapidly evolving circumstances on the ground, to track the evolution of the challenges or reasons that limit the transition of households from lower to higher experiences of energy access, i.e. across energy access tiers.
  • To assess the impact of the ongoing policy interventions of the Government of India to further energy access.


Methodology used for the survey:

  • Capacity
  • Duration
  • Reliability
  • Quality
  • Affordability


Key Findings from the report:

On electricity access:

  • ACCESS 2018 found that around 80 per cent of rural households in six surveyed states depend on grid electricity and solar home systems and/or solar lanterns for their primary lighting needs, up from 44 per cent in 2015.
  • The proportion of rural households categorized as Tier 0 has reduced by 25 percentage points, whereas the proportion of Tier 1 households has increased by 16 percentage points.

  • Daily supply in all six states combined has increased from a median of 12 hours to 16 hours over the last three years.
  • In Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, which have shown the most improvement, the supply duration increased from 8 hours to 15 hours, and from 12 hours to 18 hours, respectively.
  • The proportion of electrified households that expressed satisfaction with their electricity provision has more than doubled—from 26 per cent to 57 per cent—over the last three years.
  • Over 84 per cent of households (increased from 79 per cent in 2015) were in support of the government providing subsidies on solar lanterns.
  • Support for subsidizing grid electricity, on asking for only one type of subsidized lighting provision (among grid electricity, solar home systems or lanterns, kerosene, or micro grids) increased from 65 per cent in 2015 to 83 per cent in 2018.
  • Metering of connections, though improved, needs further improvement particularly in the states of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.


On cooking energy:

  • Since 2015, the share of households using LPG in these six states has increased from 22 per cent to 58 per cent, and the share of households using LPG as their primary cooking fuel has increased from 14 to 37 per cent.
  • Its use as the exclusive cooking fuel (eliminating adverse health impacts completely) has also increased from 5 to 19 per cent of rural households.
  • Forty-four per cent of households across the six states are in Tier 0 in 2018, as compared to 78 per cent in 2015.
  • In the six states, of all the rural households that received LPG connections between 2015 and 2018, more than 50 per cent received them under the Pradhan MantriUjjwalaYojana (PMUY).

  • The cumulative penetration of other non-traditional cooking sources is limited to less than 0.77 per cent of rural households in these six states.
  • The proportion of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) households who reported using LPG in 2015 and in 2018 has increased from 12 per cent to 45 per cent, and from 8 per cent to 32 per cent, respectively, indicating a significant improvement in LPG penetration among marginalised groups.
  • The availability of free-of-cost biomass is an important reason for households to not use LPG for cooking. A significant proportion of households (81 per cent) still continue to rely on such biomass for some, if not all, of their cooking needs.
  • LPG usage is strongly correlated with the number of years for which a household has had a connection—potentially indicating that for new LPG connections, consumption evolves over time until it saturates.
  • Among households that have LPG, more than two-third reported that a male member of the household decides when to order a refill.
  • More than 60 per cent of the respondents prioritized increasing the subsidy on LPG cylinders, as compared to 47 per cent in 2015.


Questionnaire design:

The questionnaire encompassed the following broad sub-sections:

  • Socioeconomic information of the household
  • State of electricity access
  • Electricity access-related satisfaction
  • State of cooking energy access
  • Cooking energy-related satisfaction
  • Policy preferences of the household
  • Willingness to pay for electricity and LPG



While the framework has been developed keeping in mind the nuances associated with the state of energy access in India and has tried to be capture of the ground realities of energy, it does have certain limitations. Listed below are the points that must be noted while using this framework.

  • First and foremost, evaluation of the framework is based on the stated responses of respondents in a face-to-face survey. Many of the questions on energy consumption levels rely on the ability of the respondents to recall their energy consumption over the past month (or an average level over a longer period).
  • Further, there were a few questions for which a few households were not able to respond. For some such questions that were not perception-based
  • One main change in the method to estimate household expenditure on LPG is worth noting.
  • The previous round of ACCESS (2015) survey was conducted primarily in the winter months, from December 2014 to March 2015. T
  • The questionnaire was carefully designed, and the enumerators were rigorously trained to minimize bias and avoiding leading the respondents.
  • Assumptions had to be made in places where specific questions to elicit the required response were difficult to administer.


Key Recommendations:

  • Build awareness through communication and behaviour change campaigns to influence adoption of clean cooking energy solutions, and include ministries responsible for health, rural development, environment and women and child development.
  • Enhance affordability of solutions by reducing the cost of the fuel and cooking devices, providing consumer finance, and through interventions that strengthen livelihoods.
  • Reduce the upfront cost for households through innovative payment mechanisms such as pay-as-you-go and rental models.
  • Leverage local institutions and groups for efficient and faster delivery mechanisms.
  • Set-up local manufacturing and servicing facilities to sustain prolonged use of clean cooking energy solutions, through improved accessibility and affordability.
  • Evaluate adoption and use of clean fuels and technologies to provide the much-needed evidence to inform future interventions.
  • Encourage field-based tests to demonstrate performance of ICS with local cooks, foods, practices, and fuels.
  • Modify norms for rural LPG distributorships to accommodate the higher transaction cost of operating in rural areas will be crucial to improving availability of LPG.
  • Encourage new business models for biogas operated by entrepreneurs at local and regional levels tol enable greater adoption of the fuel.
  • Encourage local manufacturing of ICS fuels – pellets and briquettes, for economic viability and local availability.
  • Raise patient capital support for early stage clean cooking energy enterprises for R&D and large-scale pilots.


Sample Question:

According to Access to Clean Cooking Energy and Electricity – Survey of States (ACCESS) “Build awareness through communication and behaviour change campaigns to influence adoption of clean cooking energy solutions, and include ministries responsible for health, rural development, environment and women and child development”