Integrating Electricity Priorities into Healthcare and Education in India: A Review of National and Subnational Policies
This paper is part of WRI’s Energy for Development Initiative, which integrates clean energy into strategies for improving development outcomes across the Indian states of Assam, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan. The paper provides an overview of national and state healthcare, education, and multisectoral policies to show how they address integration across sectors and reports stakeholder suggestions on integrating the planning requirements of development sectors with electricity.
WRI’s Energy for Development Initiative applies a four-pronged scaling strategy that involves accessing better data to identify poorly served demand, right-sizing electricity supply systems to respond to the demand, designing sustainable financing instruments, and mainstreaming evidence to achieve outcomes. The paper provides an overview of national and state healthcare, education, and multisectoral policies to show how they address integration across sectors and reports stakeholder suggestions on integrating the planning requirements of development sectors with electricity.
Highlights From the Paper:
- Electricity plays a crucial role in achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on healthcare, education, and human well-being. Reliable electricity can help improve education and health services.
- Across India, especially in Assam, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan, electricity integration is indirectly connected to most social sector policies. The role of electricity in achieving health and education outcomes is widely recognized. However, few policies in these sectors integrate electrification, partly because of a lack of information, coordination mechanisms, and finance.
- Integrative policymaking and implementation require interdepartmental and administrative coordination. Policy frameworks and instruments in the electricity, health, and education sectors should include innovative coordination and financing mechanisms, mandate adherence, and allow for the necessary flexibility.
- The policies reviewed are not always independently integrative, but in some cases, multiple policies work together to support integrative outcomes. For example, Assam’s Energy Vision document delineates the relationship between electricity and health and education outcomes; its Solar Energy Policy 2017 operationalizes the vision via an action plan.
- Some policy documents mention electricity but do not provide for it or link to other policies to support its operationalization. According to the stakeholders interviewed, this implementation gap persists because of the lack of department mandates, interdepartmental coordination, and financial flexibility.
- Accountability does not always flow in the same direction as the influence to roll out policies or funds. Some health and education policies that aim to improve service delivery require access to electricity as a prerequisite for eligibility for a scheme, putting the onus on the healthcare or education facilities rather than on government departments to ensure that reliable electricity is available. This practice results in a vicious circle in which facilities already deprived of electricity continue to be excluded from other assistance. A mechanism to allow them to procure reliable electricity is missing.
- Accessibility, organization, and governance of datasets corresponding to policies reflect the intent of the agency to influence how data can inform decision-making. Integrative and interdepartmental datasets possess greater scope for convergence in comparison with siloed information. It is challenging to reconcile healthcare data with other development indicators because the administrative units for healthcare and revenue are different. NITI Aayog’s Champions of Change dashboard and WRI’s Energy Access Explorer platform are gathering interdepartmental indicators to support informed decisions.
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