Editorial 1. Clean-tech as the next big thing in rural India


Women from rural India are increasingly adopting clean energy-based livelihood technologies to catalyse their businesses. From solar refrigerators to silk-reeling machines and biomass-based cold storage to bulk milk chillers, distributed renewable energy (DRE) is transforming women’s livelihoods at the grassroots.

Role of DRE in changing women’s lives

A recent Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) study has shown that out of the 13,000 early adopters of clean tech livelihood appliances, more than 80% are women. DRE-powered technologies provide an additional advantage to women farmers and microentrepreneurs by enhancing income opportunities through mechanisation. They also free women from several gender-assigned manual activities that are laborious.

By 2030, India is expected to see 30 million women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) employing around 150 million people. DRE livelihood technologies — a $50 billion market opportunity in India alone — have the potential to transform rural livelihoods, with women at the core of this transition.

But how do we scale up this impact from thousands of women to millions of them? Here are key steps from reaching rural women as part of the Powering Livelihoods initiative.

Way forward:

1.Pioneer models:

First, leverage the experience of early women adopters. Because of their novelty and high starting price, DRE appliances are perceived as high-risk purchases, especially by women users with a relatively lower risk appetite due to socio-economic reasons.

To overcome the challenge, technology providers must leverage early users to share their experiences with potential customers, becoming demo champions/sales agents to market these products, based on their first-hand product experience and local credibility.

2. Importance of live events, financing

Second, organise hyperlocal events and demos. People want to touch and see a high-tech, high-ticket-size product before believing in its ability and promised benefits, especially when it comes to women who historically have limited access to new information.

These events also create spaces for women to network, become aware of the product and connect with people who can help them procure, finance and use these machines.

3. Access to finance

Third, enable easy finance to purchase products. Limited avenues to avail financing for these clean technology products remain a bottleneck. Financiers supporting women farmers and microentrepreneurs should consider the technologies themselves as collaterals while easing the loan application process.

Technology manufacturers and promoters should also ensure adequate after-sales services and buy-backs. To build financiers’ confidence, evidence on the economic viability of these technologies should be shared and promoters must offer partial default guarantees.

4. Market linkages

Fourth, support backwards and forward market linkages. Only technology provision is not enough in all cases. Many rural products have larger market potential. Thus, finding and connecting producers to consumption hubs in urban areas are equally important to generate higher incomes.

Women often struggle with established market linkages because of their limited mobility and networks outside their villages. Here, collectivising women or establishing business models that enable them to sell to an intermediary can ensure a regular revenue stream.

5. Facilitate convergence

Fifth, enable policy convergence. No private sector entity has the kind of reach and scale government institutions have, so leveraging their reach is imperative to exponentially scale up. Multiple Ministries are working towards promoting livelihoods for women — from State rural livelihood missions, horticulture and agriculture departments, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, to the Ministry of Textiles. They should embrace clean energy solutions to further their respective programmes and outcomes.


Much like it takes a village to raise a child, scaling the impact of clean energy solutions on women’s livelihoods needs a village of policymakers, investors, financiers, technology promoters and other ecosystem enablers. Only then can we truly unlock the potential of rural women and clean technologies simultaneously.

Editorial 2. Creative formulas: On India, G20 and the Ukraine conflict


After the conclusion of two key G20 ministerial meetings, of the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governers (FMCBG) in Bengaluru and Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) in Delhi, without consensus over the Ukraine war, diplomats and G20 officials must pause for a stock-taking exercise on the government’s strategy for its G20 presidency.

About G-20:

G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies. It is an advisory body, not a treaty-based forum and, therefore, its decisions are recommendations to its own members.

Members of the G20:

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

Working of G 20:

It is divided into two tracks:

1. Finance track comprises all meetings with G20 finance ministers and central bank governors and their deputies. Meeting several times throughout the year they focus on monetary and fiscal issues, financial regulations, macroeconomic coordination, financial inclusion, international taxation, and investment.

2. Sherpa track focuses on broader issues such as political engagement, anti-corruption, development, energy, digital economy, trade, anti-corruption, agriculture, health, energy and environment etc.

Each G20 country is represented by its Sherpa– an official who plans, guides and implements the ideas and proposals on behalf of the leader of their respective country. Sherpas do all the groundwork before the leaders take decisions.

Significance of the G20:G20 membership represents around:1. 80% of global GDP2. 75% of global trade3. Two-thirds of the planet’s population.

The 2023 G-20 summit outcomes:

The FMCBG is part of the key “Finance track” of the group of the 20 most advanced and/or influential economies. With the experience India gained in Indonesia last year to bridge the Russia-West divide, the challenges for India’s presidency, amid dynamic geopolitical changes, should have been clear.

In Bengaluru, however, the surprise was when Russia and China refused to accept the language on the Ukraine war that they had agreed to just three months ago. As a result, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was constrained to issue only a Chair’s summary and outcome document, rather than a joint communique.

The government also decided to include the paragraphs that Russia and China had objected to, naming them in the document. This is something of a precedent, as last year, the Indonesian chair’s joint communiques at the Leader level and FMCBG expressed the sentiments of “many” and “most” countries.

After the brinkmanship in Bengaluru, it was ambitious, if not a bit surprising, that the government chose to attempt negotiations for a joint statement for the FMM. Eventually, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar issued a Chairman’s summary and outcome documents too, citing differences over the two Bali paragraphs. This was a first, as FMMs have not attempted to issue statements at all.

Way forward:

While the two meetings have given India’s G20 process a rocky start, there is a long road ahead to the Leaders’ summit in September. Mr. Jaishankar has pointed out that the bulk of the statements that pertain to the critical issues for the Global South, such as food and energy security and debt management, have been ironed out.

Second, there is clarity that India cannot bank on the language of the Bali Summit, and Sherpas will need to iron out a new consensus language on Ukraine. This will require a keen ear and creative formulas that take into account Russian grievances with the language, as well as the western desire to retain its successes in condemning Russia’s actions in the Bali document.


As host, India is in the ‘hot-seat’ and will benefit from enlisting those countries in the grouping other than the entrenched camps of the G7, U.S.-led developed world, and the now-strengthened Russia-China combine, to ensure that a middle path is found.


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