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The World Bank Listened to NGOs in India
In the preparations of the new World Bank energy study on India, NGOs were involved in a Joint National NGO and World Bank Workshop on “Environmental Issues in the Power Sector in India” May 6-7, 1998. (See issue no. 21). 40 people participated.
 
NGOs had an opportunity to communicate their perception on the issue of environmentally sustainable rural energy options. The workshop was an important milestone in a lot of respects. The World Bank did recognise that *the NGO community (about 25,000 NGOs represent the 800 million population) is one of the stakeholders in effective environmental protection. *the NGOs’ recommendations needs to be listened and fully reflected in the key findings of the World Bank study, which will be helpful to policy makers to incorporate into future planning. *a more fruitful collaboration and meaningful partnership can be built between the Indian NGO Community and the World Bank in planning and implementation of environmentally sustainable development programs to empower rural people. *the World Bank should consider earmark grants for national NGO networks to implement decentralised renewable-energy projects. *the World Bank could also play an effective role by being pro-active in its approach. The World Bank should assist and provide funding support to NGOs for innovative, path-finder, ground-breaking projects as well as adaptive R&D projects. The Workshop participants listened to the views of NGOs on several issues: The economic incentives: Restructuring of Electricity Board Improved billing and recovery Tariff reform for agriculture and other sectors Tariff increased mode Air quality and emission standards and regulation The implementation of renewable technology: Realism Affordability Cost consideration Availability Maintenance Rural energy and welfare: Energy and the welfare of women Education, awareness, communication, and networking People’s participation in rural energy The NGOs promoted the small and medium-sized decentralised power generation projects. They also expressed their concern about big power plants, which have been creating lots of environmental problems and health hazards as well as water, air, and land pollution. The NGOs presented several successful NGO-driven renewable-energy projects that have been realized in India (see articles on the biogas program in issues 14/p.7, 10/p.14, 9/p.5, 7/p.6). NGOs expressed their willingness to undertake decentralised power projects, provided that flexible funding support was available. Such projects would require the awareness, motivation, and organisation of local people; participatory planning and implementation; capacity-building; and the training of local people to do maintenance, repairs, and replication after successful demonstrations. The socio-technical expertise for undertaking such projects is available within the NGO networks. More information: INSEDA, INFORSE regional coordinator, 3rd floor, St. Soldier Tower, Vikaspuri, New Delhi 110018 India. Ph:+91-5510344, fax:+91-11-5529646 e-mail: rayinsda@nda.vsnl.net.in.
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ISSUE #22 (1998-09-01)
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