India Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources, energy and environment

India has relatively large natural resources, but they are not enough to meet the needs of the large population. India is one of the world’s largest coal producers, while at the same time investing heavily in sustainable energy, primarily solar energy.

The mining industry contributes only a few percent of the country’s GDP and employs an equal share of the labor force. The iron deposits are among the largest in the world. Almost all iron mining takes place in the states of Orissa, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Goa and Jharkhand. Most of the iron ore is exported.

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Copper, lead, zinc and uranium are extracted in Bihar in the east and Rajastan in the west. In 2017, large amounts of uranium were discovered in Andhra Pradesh. In the south, gold and titanium are mined, used in the aerospace industry. Manganese, chromium, limestone and diamonds are also extracted. India is self-sufficient in bauxite (raw material in aluminum) and is one of the world’s largest producers of magnesium, mica and silver.

India’s large coal deposits are sometimes of low quality and are mainly used as a domestic energy source. The country was previously self-sufficient on coal but now has to import some. The state had a long monopoly on coal mining, but in order to increase production, the industry was privatized from the early 1990s. No major increase occurred, partly because the coal is mainly found in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, where the popular resistance to the quarry has been great periodically.

In the summer of 2014, the so-called Coalgate scandal erupted when the Supreme Court ruled that coal mining licenses issued between 1993 and 2010, that is, under several different governments, were sold without transparency at too low prices. The Supreme Court revoked hundreds of licenses in September of that year and then auctioned them again.

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There are some natural gas deposits, which are mainly used in industry, and oil. The largest oil field is in the sea off Bombay (Mumbai). Own production does not go far in the face of growing domestic demand. Around half of the gas and at least 80 percent of the oil used must be imported. At the same time, a large part of the oil is being re-exported after it has been refined in India.

Electricity shortage and energy conversion

Energy consumption takes place in two areas: one self-sustaining part and one commercial. In the first, wood, cow manure and the like are used primarily. This consumption is trying to keep the government down because it leads to deforestation and soil erosion. In the commercial part (industry, transport, etc.), coal is the main source of energy.

Coal, oil and natural gas account for 90 percent of the country’s total energy consumption. Around 70 per cent of electricity is generated in coal-fired thermal power plants. However, India is striving to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Investments are made on nuclear power and on sustainable energy sources such as solar, tidal and wind power. One goal is for 40 percent of electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2030. More than a tenth of the electricity is generated in hydropower plants.

India emerges as one of the leading countries in realizing the UN climate agreement of 2016. Together with France, India 2015 took the initiative to form the International Solar Alliance (International Solar Alliance, ISA) between the world’s most sunny countries. ISA’s goal is to rapidly increase solar energy production. In the southern state of Kerala there is a fully solar powered airport.

India has between 20 and 30 nuclear power plants in operation, and more are being built or planned. Nuclear power covers just over 3 percent of energy consumption, but is estimated to be 25 percent in 2050. Nuclear co-operation agreements are in place with the USA, France, Canada, Australia and South Korea. Since India is a nuclear nation, the partner countries have been careful that the agreements only apply to civil nuclear power.

Demand for energy is steadily increasing, partly as a result of a growing population and partly through the modernization of the country. This leads to constant power cuts, as the state did not have the resources to expand and maintain the electricity grids – an obstacle to economic development. In the summer of 2012, around 600 million people were affected in 20 of India’s, when 28 states of electricity supply collapsed for two days.

The governments of India are striving to address the electricity shortage, for example, the energy sector has been opened to private, even foreign, investments. In April 2018, the government claimed that all Indian communities were now connected to the electricity grid. At the same time, over 40 million households still lacked access to electricity.

Water shortages and severe environmental problems

India has a number of environmental problems, including lack of clean water and functioning sewage systems. Industrial waste and wastewater often run straight into the sea and waterways. The garbage dumps are huge in their own right, and toxic waste is a serious problem. The use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture is considered unsustainable.

India is the country where most residents die annually due to air and water pollution – about 2.3 million a year. Globally, around nine million people die each year as a result of air and water pollution.

In May 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a study showing that New Delhi and Bombay (Mumbai) are among the world’s five most polluted cities. Each year, over eight million people die prematurely due to air and water pollution. Two out of three live in Asia.

Some assessors warn of an imminent acute water shortage, caused by severe pollution and overconsumption. A study from the National Institute for Transforming India shows that about 20 Indian cities will be completely without groundwater by 2020. There are indications that half of the deaths in India are related to dirty water and the water crisis leads to high costs for the country’s economy.

The government is aware that the environmental problems must be solved. Various environmental laws have been adopted, but compliance varies. The BJP government launched the Clean India Mission initiative in 2014 (roughly: Mission cleans India), whose goal was that all Indians should have access to functioning sewage and sewage systems as well as clean fuel for cooking by 2019.

About our sources


Energy use per person

637 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

805 kWh, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

2 238 377 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

1.7 tons (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

36.0 percent (2015)



Toilets a deficiency

The government decides to initiate nationwide checks that the residents who have access to the toilet really use it. Since October, the state has installed half a million toilets, but it is stated that there is opposition to using them. Many people think that toilets are filthy and would rather continue to meet their needs in the open air. Instead, the toilets are often used as storage rooms. According to the World Bank, India loses more than $ 50 billion annually through reduced productivity due to stomach disorders caused by poor sanitary conditions.

The charges against the BJP chairman are closed

A court has laid charges against BJP chairman Amit Shah for murder, kidnapping and blackmail. He had been charged by the National Criminal Police for ordering the murder of a notorious Muslim gangster, his wife and a friend of the couple in 2005. Shah would also have tried to hold the murdered gangster responsible for a murder attempt on Modi, then Gujarat’s prime minister. Shah was one of the leading forces behind the BJP’s electoral victory in May 2014 and the murder charge has rested heavily on the government. The Congress party claims that the government exerted pressure on the court to free Shah.

About 70 dead in guerrilla attack in Assam

Up to 70 people are killed when separatist guerrillas carry out a series of concerted attacks on villages in a jungle area in Assam. Authorities are accusing Bodland’s National Democratic Front (NDFB) of the prohibited movement for the killing. The attacks are believed to be a revenge for earlier military raids against the guerrillas. The Indian government is appealing to the authorities in nearby Bhutan to participate in the hunt for the perpetrators. The Indian Army is deploying 6,000 men in the search for guerrillas.

BJP alliance wins in Jharkhand

In the state of Jharkhand in eastern India, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance gets a clear majority of seats in the local parliament.

The BJP and the local PDP become the winner in Kashmir

The BJP is progressing strongly in the state elections in Jammu and Kashmir and gets 25 of the local parliament’s 87 seats. The biggest is the local People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which gets 28 seats. The ruling National Conference, which received harsh criticism for its September flood management, loses almost half of its seats and receives only 15 seats.

Modi proposes major tax reform

The Government is proposing a new, nationwide and comprehensive system for taxing goods and services. The system, called GST (Goods and services tax), is described as the largest tax reform since the country’s independence. If adopted by Parliament, it will replace the current patchwork of taxes, which vary from state to state. The government claims it has the support of all 29 states to change the system. For the law to pass, not only is a majority of the states required but also two-thirds of the members of Parliament.

Successful rocket launch

India successfully launches its largest rocket into space so far. At the same time, an unmanned canister is also fired that can hold several astronauts. In the past, India has managed to launch smaller rockets, but has had problems with larger ones. The current rocket can carry communications satellites.

Prohibition of IS to operate in India

India bans the Islamic State’s (IS) extreme organization. The ban is supposed to make it easier to detect IS sympathizers in India.

Putin visits India

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits India. Modi and Putin promise to increase bilateral defense and energy cooperation. Modi calls Russia India’s “most important defense partner”. A number of agreements have been concluded in the energy sector, including Russia to help India build at least ten new nuclear reactors. Russia will also support the development of Indian hydropower and sell more oil.

Nobel Peace Prize to Kailash Satyarthi

The Indian Kailash Satyarthi (1954–) is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his many years of struggle against child labor and child slavery. He shares the award with Pakistani Malala Yousefzai, who works for girls’ right to education. Satyarhti’s organization Bachpan Bachao Andolan (roughly Save the Childhood Movement) has since the 1990s liberated more than 80,000 children from forced labor and slavery, and helped them back to society through rehabilitation and education. Satyarthi has also been involved in international organizations such as the Global March Against Labor, the International Center on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE) and The Global Campaign for Education.

Violent in Kashmir ahead of Modi’s election speech

December 8

Ahead of Modi’s planned election speech in the Kashmirian capital Srinagar, four armed attacks are carried out by unknown opponents in Jammu and Kashmir. Among other things, an army base is attacked. At least 18 people are killed in the attacks altogether. Thirteen of the victims are security men at the army base. State elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir on December 9.


Lifetime prison for the murder of three Kashmiris

A military court sentenced three soldiers, including two commanders, to life imprisonment for the murder of three young men in Kashmir in April 2010. The youths were lured away by the soldiers to the control line between Pakistani and Indian Kashmir, where they were shot dead. The men were then described as “Pakistani infiltrators” but a later investigation showed that the victims belonged to the local civilian population. The shootings triggered several weeks of violent riots in Kashmir.

Modi is expanding the government

Prime Minister Modi is expanding his government with 21 new members to a total of 66. The reason is that several ministers have had an excessive workload and responsibility burden. Six ministers have had dual responsibilities, such as Arun Jaitley, who has been both Minister of Finance and Defense. Among the new members are four with ministerial responsibilities, including Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who now becomes Minister of Defense.


Success for BJP in state elections

The BJP wins the state elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located. In Haryana, the party can form the state government on its own, while in Maharashtra there must be a government coalition with some other party, probably the regional right-wing Shiv Sena. Both states were previously ruled by the Congress Party.

The “Make in India” campaign begins

Modi launches the “Make in India” campaign which aims to make India more business friendly and attractive to investors and other sectors of the business community. The bureaucracy will be lost and more vocational training and apprenticeship programs will be launched. Modi announces that the country’s labor market laws should be revised to better suit modern industry and entrepreneurship. The authorities’ inspections of factories should be reviewed, as employers and industrial owners complained that they felt harassed by the inspectors in different ways. An internet site should be opened where employers can express their complaints.

The “A Clean India” campaign is launched

Prime Minister Modi launches a five-year campaign called “Clean India” which will lead to improved cleanliness in public places in cities and rural areas.


Chinese President visiting India

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits India and is welcomed by Prime Minister Modi. The two leaders head to Gujarat, where China promises to invest in a new industrial area. They then travel back to New Delhi, where a number of cooperation agreements are entered into. Among other things, China will invest $ 20 billion in India’s railways. Other agreements pertain to trade, space research and nuclear energy for peaceful use.

Modi visits the United States

Modi visits the United States, which he was previously prohibited from visiting due to the events in Gujarat in 2002 (see Modern History). Modi meets President Barack Obama at the White House, where the two leaders announce that the US and India have agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and in space research. The countries will also work together to increase security at sea and to develop the infrastructure in India’s cities. Modi meets a wide range of business leaders from Google, IBM, GE and Boeing, among others. The purpose is to attract companies to invest in India. In a speech at the UN in New York, Modi reiterated India’s demands for a permanent seat on the Security Council.

Modi visits Japan

Prime Minister Modi is visiting Japan to strengthen cooperation between the two countries. During the five-day visit, increased cooperation in trade, defense and nuclear technology is discussed. India is showing interest in buying Japanese nuclear energy technology.


Modi: “All households must have bank account”

The Modi government is launching a program with the goal that all households in India should have a bank account. The program is a way to improve the ability of poor families to gain control over the private economy themselves, by enabling household credit and social security contributions to the bank. Today, many poor debtors are forced to settle with anchor and thus end up in heavy debt.

HD: Criminal convicts should not receive ministerial posts

The Supreme Court of India states that politicians convicted of crimes should not be appointed as ministers in the central government or provincial governments. By contrast, politicians who are charged with crimes should not lose their seats before being sentenced. About one-third of the members of India’s federal parliament are today charged with crime, according to the Delihasated Association for Democratic Reforms. A verdict must fall within a year after a parliamentarian has been charged with a serious crime. For politicians sentenced to two years in prison or more, it is not allowed to run for election.

The Indians are happy with Modi

An opinion poll published in the India Today newspaper shows that more than 70 percent of Indians surveyed are satisfied with Prime Minister Modi’s leadership during the first three months of government.

Impaired relations with Pakistan

India suspends scheduled peace talks at Foreign Minister level because Pakistan has consulted Kashmiri separatist leaders ahead of the impending talks. Pakistan says it is customary to make these contacts before rounds of talks, but India believes that Pakistan has interfered with India’s internal affairs.

Modi about Kashmir: “Pakistan wars through agents”

Prime Minister Modi visits Kargil in Kashmir. He is the first Indian prime minister to visit the city since 1,000 Indian soldiers were killed there in fighting against Pakistan in 1999. On the spot, Modi accuses Pakistan of waging war through proxy in the area. The statement strained relations with the neighboring country, whose foreign ministry one day later announced that Modi’s statement was “extremely unfortunate”.


Modi’s first budget, giant statue to be built

In its first state budget, the BJP government raises military spending by 12 percent and invests 10 billion rupees on railway construction in the border areas against China and Pakistan. Foreign investors are allowed to own up to 49 per cent of the assets of companies in the defense industry and insurance industry, compared with the previous 26 percent. The subsidies on food and gasoline should be targeted to the most needy. The Government expects growth to rise again to 7–8 percent per year in the coming years. The budget also holds a grant of the equivalent of over $ 200 million to build the world’s largest statue, twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York and depicting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the nation’s founders but rival to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The statue is to be placed on an island in a river in Gujarat,

Modi strengthens the grip on BJP

Prime Minister Modi strengthens his grip on the BJP when his closest ally, Amit Shah, is elected new party chairman. Shah is a controversial politician who risks three charges of murder and was temporarily suspended from this year’s election campaign after accusations of spreading hate propaganda.

Border dispute with Bangladesh resolved

The Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague gives Bangladesh the right to just over two-thirds of a sea area that India and neighboring countries have disputed for decades. Both countries declare themselves satisfied with the outcome.

No ban on sharia courts

The Supreme Court rejects a request to ban Muslim sharia courts. HD states that sharia laws are valid, but only in cases where individual individuals voluntarily submit to them in, for example, family law cases. The ruling of the Sharia courts is not legally binding, HD adds.

Excited when Modi visits Kashmir

Prime Minister Modi makes his first official visit to Kashmir. Several separatist groups have announced a general strike ahead of the visit. Most schools and shops are closed as a mark against Modi. On the Pakistani side of the Kashmir standstill, protesters are burning Indian flags in protest against Modi. There are details of fire fighting in the Poonch district. Security in Kashmir has also been tightened and several separatist leaders have been arrested.


New economic reform program

The government presents an economic reform program: more jobs will be created, India will attract more foreign investment (especially in coal production and defense industry), the tax system will be simplified and inflation will be combated. The Modi government should also prioritize the fight against violence against women and work for good relations with neighboring countries.

Girls are raped and hanged

Two teenage girls are subjected to group rape and hanged in a tree in Uttar Pradesh. The event is provoking anger in the state and demonstrations are being held there, including in Delhi. The local police are accused of acting slowly and passively on the crime and of mocking the low-key, affected family. Three suspects are arrested for the crime.

India gets a new state

June 2

Andhra Pradesh’s northern part formally becomes India’s 29th state, Telangana, with 35 million inhabitants. The capital Hyderabad will be a divided state capital for ten years until Andhra Pradesh has managed to create its own new capital. The chief minister of Telangana will be Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao, who heads Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the party that has run the division of Andhra Pradesh. The people of the north have felt neglected by the state government and therefore wanted to break out and form their own state.


Modi makes priority list

At its first government meeting, Prime Minister Modi ranked ten priority areas, including rebuilding public confidence in state administration, having more open government work, and investing in school, health care, water, energy and roads. He also appoints a special team (SIT) with the task of seizing black money.

Modi calls South Asian colleagues

May 27th

Prime Minister Modi initiates bilateral talks with a number of leaders in the region. First in line is Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif, then among others Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. In his conversation with Sharif, Modi appeals to his colleague to crack down on militant Islamists in Pakistan and speed up the trial of the suspects for Mumbai deeds in 2008. He also says that trade between the two countries should be fully normalized.

Modi becomes prime minister, the government is presented

May 26

Narendra Modi is sworn in as Prime Minister at a ceremony in Delhi. Among the thousands of guests are Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It is the first time since the split of British India in 1947 that a colleague from one of the two countries was present at the installation of a head of government in the neighboring country. At the moment, 45 MPs are also sworn in as ministers in a new government. Seven of them are women and all belong to the BJP and its alliance parties. Interior Minister Rajnath Singh, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley take care of the finance, defense and business ministries.

Historical election victory for BJP

When the roughly 550 million votes in India’s giant elections are counted, it is clear the BJP has won a historically large victory with 282 of 543 seats in the legislative lower house. This is an increase of 164 seats since the 2009 elections, ie more than doubling. The BJP now has such a large majority in Parliament that it alone can form government, which is very unusual in India. The BJP’s alliance parties within the National Democratic Alliance get a total of 55 seats, also an increase compared to 43 seats in 2009. The Congress party collapses from 206 seats in 2009 to only 44 seats, a historically low figure. Its alliance parties within the UPA receive only 15 seats. AAP wins only four seats. The Congress party recognizes itself defeated even before the final election results are complete.

Record-high turnout

The Election Commission announces that the election is 66.38 percent – a record high by Indian measures.

Dozens of deaths in Assam attacks

More than 40 people, including at least two children, are killed in two assaults in Assam. Police say for media that the attacks have been carried out by separatists from the Bodo people group, who are fighting for their own country. The victims are among the Muslim minority.


HD: “a third gender to be recognized”

The Times of India magazine writes that the country’s highest court has decided to recognize a third gender for those who do not identify themselves as women or men. According to the decision, the state should offer this group, for example, education and employment opportunities that are equivalent to those that other vulnerable minorities receive.

Electoral violence in several places

In connection with the general elections, violence in central and eastern India erupts where a Maoist uprising is taking place (see Naxali uprising). In the state of Bihar, suspected Maoist rebels attack a jeep with half-military soldiers; three soldiers are killed and the election is postponed in some nearby electoral districts. In the state of Chhattisgarh, at least twelve people are killed in two blasts for which the Maoists are suspected. In the state of Jharkand, three election workers and five police officers are killed when Maoists blow a landmine on a bridge when a bus with the election workers passes. The Maoists have called for election boycotts, but the voters who follow the call are relatively few. In Kashmir, more than 500 residents, including separatist leaders, are arrested for election day after protesters threw stones at police.

General elections begin, BJP is investing in the economy

April 7

The general elections begin in the states of Assam and Tripura. The BJP receives criticism for presenting its election manifesto late, several hours after the election began. The BJP promises better economy and infrastructure as well as hard-fought corruption.

Three convicted of new group rape

Three men are sentenced to death by hanging for a group rape on a 22-year-old female photographer in Mumbai in August 2013. A fourth offender is sentenced to life imprisonment. A fifth man, who was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, is to be sentenced in a special juvenile court. Three of the men are also found among four men who were convicted in March 2014 of a group rape on an 18-year-old telephony in Mumbai in July 2013.


The Congress party is investing in social reforms

The Congress Party presents its election manifesto. The party’s slogan becomes “Your voice, our promise”. A number of social reforms are on the agenda: the right to health care for all, and pensions for the elderly and people with disabilities. Prime Minister Singh talks about the importance of economic growth for all citizens and explains that the country needs more investment and jobs as well as increased investment in agricultural development, education and health care.


“Third Front” is formed before the election

Before the parliamentary elections, a so-called third front is formed, consisting of seven regional and four left-wing parties, including the Communist Party Marxists of India (CPI-M). AAP is not included in the front.

Parliament approves the formation of Telangana

Both federal chambers adopt a law that gives India a 29th state, Telangana (see January 2014).

Death sentences for the murder of Rajiv Gandhi are converted

The Supreme Court converts the death sentences to life imprisonment for three of the seven people sentenced for the assassination of India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. The reason is that the convicted have been in prison for over 20 years pending execution or mercy. They have had to wait eleven years for the response to a mercy application. All seven belonged to the now-defunct guerrilla organization The Tamil Tigers (LTTE), which until 2009 fought for a Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka.

The AAP government in Delhi is falling

The Delhi government falls, 49 days after taking office. The reason is that AAP fails to get through an anti-corruption law because the bill is blocked by the Congress Party and BJP. AAP announces that it is now putting its energies on spring’s federal election. From February 17, Delhi is ruled directly by the country’s president until a new state government can be appointed.


The state parliament opposes division

The state parliament of Andhra Pradesh votes down the proposal to form a new state, Telangana. The decision is a setback for the Delhi government which approved the formation of Telangana. The final decision on Telangana’s future destiny is taken by the Delhi Parliament.

Rahul Gandhi becomes campaign manager

The Congress party appoints Rahul Gandhi as leader of the election campaign, but he is not formally appointed as the party’s prime ministerial candidate. According to Chairman Sonia Gandhi, it is not a tradition within the Congress party to appoint a prime ministerial candidate before the election. However, analysts believe that the real reason is that the ruling party wants to avoid exposing Gandhi to an open political clash with the BJP’s Modi, which is considered more charismatic and which has its headwind in opinion polls.

Singh leaves politics after the spring elections

Prime Minister Singh announces that he will leave politics after the spring 2014 elections, regardless of the election result.

India Energy and Environment Facts

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