New Delhi, Sept 20 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting of the Planning Commission today to discuss a draft Integrated Energy Policy document.
Describing that energy is a crucial input in development and growth of the country, Dr. Singh said: "With very large energy requirement, we are likely to be increasingly import-dependent. This makes us vulnerable to uncertainty of international prices and also reliability of supplies."
Calling to undertake optimal exploitation of domestic energy resources, the Prime Minister said there is a need to explore the scope for acquiring energy assets abroad with a view to increasing the country's energy security.
Noting that energy pricing is a key component of energy policy, he said appropriate energy prices must provide the incentives needed for efficient use of energy and also the incentive for investment in expanding supplies.
He pointed out that policies relating to individual energy sectors are set by a number of different ministries reflecting historical evolution, which meant the policies followed in different sectors are not always internally consistent.
"It is therefore, critical that we evolve an Integrated Energy Policy based on a consistent application of economic principles across different energy sources," the Prime Minister said.
The draft policy document sought to present a framework, indicating the principles which should guide energy policy in the years ahead.
Dr. Singh had constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Kirit Parikh, Member (Energy), Planning Commission that had submitted its report in August 2006. The report suggested a comprehensive energy policy for the country, with many specific recommendations.
The plan panel meeting on integrated energy policy is significant as it came barely 72 hours before the Prime Minister's visit to the US.
Dr. Singh he is slated to meet US president George W Bush and is likely to ink the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement. The Prime Minister will also attend the 63rd session of UN General Assembly in New York.
The full panel meeting on energy discussed the possibility of augmenting power supply by increasing generation from nuclear power following the clean waiver granted by the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG).
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Human Resource and Development Minister Arjun Singh, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav attended the high-level meeting.