By Vishu Mishra & Rishu Garg.

CSTEP launched the Empower series of blog articles to simplify the power sector for non-technical readers. Through the series, we hope to explain how every step of the journey of electricity affects the consumers. In the first article, we introduced you to the many actors involved in this journey. The second article of the series explains the costs involved in electricity generation. The third article simplifies electricity bills while detailing the aspects relevant for consumers, to enable them to understand their bills better. Continuing this informative journey, the fourth segment discussed the various expenses…


By Dr Indu K Murthy.

With the climate crisis intensifying, natural disasters are becoming more frequent worldwide. This is partly due to climate change — much of it man-made — and partly due to the way we manage (or mismanage) our land and natural resources. It’s high time that we paused, pondered, and learnt from nature, which offers solutions to many of our emergent problems.

Back to roots

Nature-based solutions (NbS), which has gained global attention recently, is an umbrella term for a range of approaches — inspired and supported by nature — for tackling various socio-environmental challenges. The concept…


By Merlin Francis.

Many women are entering the workforce thanks to changing perceptions on gender roles and improved access to education. But this is not necessarily reflected in senior management or leadership positions in organisations across the world.

The scenario is worse in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Despite having a significant number of graduates, women’s participation in the STEM workforce is a mere 14% in India. These numbers decline further as we go higher up the hierarchy as various pressures and circumstances force women to drop out at the mid-management levels.

According to the Egon…


By Arjun Shanker.

The ongoing deliberations around the newly introduced farm laws have redrawn the nation’s focus on farmer-centric issues. Following suit, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of pro-agrarian measures in the Union Budget, including an agri-credit enhancement to the tune of INR 16.5 lakh crore — highest till date. This move is expected to spur better inputs and cutting-edge technology, making farming less labour-intensive.

What ails agri-credit?

India’s institutional agri-credit witnessed its watershed moment between 1970 and 1980, post the nationalisation of banks that brought in two significant credit lending schemes — Lead Bank Scheme (for…


By Dr Jai Asundi.

Like most of us, Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, turned to technology in COVID times, to present the first paperless budget in India’s history. Indeed, it set the mood for what was to come. The promise of a digital 16th Indian census, smart metering for electricity distribution companies, and proposals for installing an indigenously-developed automatic train protection system to boost passenger safety — there were ample instances of technology in motion.

The Budget went on to tick some significant boxes in the areas of health, urban water and sanitation, non-conventional energy sources, etc.

Health and Wellbeing…


By Energy & Power Team, CSTEP.

One of the focal points of the Union Budget 2021–22 is the potential of renewable energy — especially solar energy — in reviving the economy. The measures suggested in the Budget could lead to higher indigenisation in the solar energy infrastructure. The Indian solar industry is heavily dependent on Chinese imports at the moment and the emphasis on indigenisation could provide the much-needed thrust to local manufacturers.

Solar manufacturing

The move to increase duties on solar cell/module-related imports will be welcomed by the indigenous manufacturing industry; however, it is worthwhile to note that this…


By Dr Pratima Singh.

Air pollution is one of the biggest threats staring India squarely in the face. A slew of measures to effectively tackle this menace were expected from Budget 2021–22. The budget, however, turned out to be a mixed bag, with more misses than hits as far as India’s fight against air pollution is concerned.

Let us first get the positives out of the way:

  1. Support for source segregation of waste and bioremediation of legacy waste and construction and demolition waste.
  2. Support for Swachh Bharat and Clean Air programmes
  3. Launch of a comprehensive National Hydrogen Energy Mission —…


By Dr Indu K Murthy.

The Union Budget 2021–22 is a clear plan to bring the economy back on track. But, the current pandemic should have paved the way for a new approach to economic development — one that prioritised environment, ecosystems, and green infrastructure.

With growing loss to life and infrastructure as a result of natural disasters, and India being ranked 7th by the Global Climate Risk Index 2021 — a reflection on the poor preparedness to deal with climate reality, focussed budget to climate adaptation was expected. …


By Anantha Lakshmi Paladugula.

The phenomenal rise in personal vehicle use, especially in urban areas, during the pandemic is bound to have serious environmental implications. States and UTs should, therefore, consider implementing the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines 2020, especially the sections that deal with the aggregation of non-transport vehicles (personal vehicles) and ride pooling. Until now, various state transport departments have been opposing the move to allow aggregators to integrate non-transport vehicles and offer ride pooling as they have not been complying with the existing aggregator rules or motor vehicle acts in these states.

However, given the current situation and…


By Sreerekha Pillai.

This article is the fourth in CSTEP’s Enrich series of blogs where we discuss what happens in a think tank beyond research. Read our previous articles on models for informed decision making, design thinking, and on editing at a think tank. In this article, our Chief Editor takes a light-hearted look at the Quality Control process, where the twain — left brain and right brain — meet.

Who said the Theory of Evolution is limited only to biological species? Language too evolves. In fact, Darwinian linguistics is a specific branch of linguistics, named after the father of…

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