Environment, Energy and Natural Resources

CPS Home > Research > Environment, Energy and Natural Resources

The staggering challenges of protecting the ecology from climate changes seem to grow
bigger as market-centric solutions have primacy in setting the policy agendas. CPS re-
imagines the concerns of the ‘environment’ as trigger for holistic attention to cross-cutting
policy issues such as water, health, energy, migration & urbanization. CPS intends to create a
platform for nurturing inter-disciplinary approach to develop policy solutions based on the
principles of care and inclusion.

Research is presently being undertaken in the following areas:

Water and Sanitation

Managing the water resources for a country the size of India presents a complex and difficult
challenge. There is evidence to suggest that with each passing year, water stress levels are
increasing across the length and breadth of the country. Sanitation is a further challenge to the
governance landscape. Given the context, the Water and Sanitation research group will build
on the substantive past research and newer questions, such as: How does one design flexible
water and sanitation management systems for the rural and urban populace? With further
rural-urban migration, are our governance mechanisms able to adapt to the new demands?
How can we create newer models of transparency, accountability and participation in the
creation of ‘liveable’ cities?

Health Policy

One of the aims of this research group is to understand public health in the context of a
changing welfare state and greater reliance on private providers, economic growth in some
sections of the country and increased precarity in others. The emergence of new technologies
for large scale data gathering and computation offer opportunities to create unified data bases
which can offer new insights to disease trends and provide evidence for the design of
interventions, while such systems can also become a vector for surveillance and control. The
research group on health policy aims at an involved understanding of these and other issues at
the level of policy formation, implementation and evaluation in conversation with other
disciplines such as sociology, history, psychology, engineering and environmental science.
Research initiatives focus on history of policy for communicable and non-communicable
diseases in India, gender and health, sexual health, mental health, access to health care, urban
healthcare, and challenges and possibilities of integrated health informatics system.

Energy Policy

India’s energy sector is in the midst of a transition from fossil to renewable, in response to the
climate change and urban air quality problems. The challenges of providing clean energy
–24/7 electricity and clean cooking fuels, sustainable transport, sustainable agriculture and
sustainable energy sources for industry need strategic policy interventions backed by
evidence and analysis. A systems perspective with be used to develop an understanding of
issues related to technology, systems, sustainability and impacts. The impacts of disruptive
technologies on employment and the economy as well as the equity impacts of policy
implementation will be the prime focus.
The attempt will be to develop new tools and techniques that combine quantitative with
qualitative approaches. New frameworks for linking micro and macro perspectives will be
developed. Some topics of interest are green buildings, smart grids, electric vehicles, zero
carbon futures, sustainable biofuels, direct benefit transfer. The effectiveness of market based
approaches versus legislation and mandates and hybrid approaches will be examined. Policies
that can spur innovation and support competitiveness and energy security need to be
identified and articulated. The attempt will be to catalyse collaborations with faculty in
Energy, Climate Studies and the several engineering and science departments and regulators,
Governments and think tanks.

Circular Economy

Waste from one life-form often becomes food for another, thereby resulting in a circular
system that rejuvenates and sustains various life-forms. Circular Economy (CE) is a
regenerative system in which resource input, waste emission and energy leakage are
minimized by slowing, closing and narrowing material and energy loops. This can be
achieved through long lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacture,
refurbishing and recycling- the idea is to use the products and materials to their
maximum value and functionality.
The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is focusing on conceptualizing and developing
a Circular Economy framework. Nearly 62 million tonnes of solid waste are generated
annually in India and about 70-75% of this waste remains untreated. Millions of waste pickers
and scavengers work in hazardous conditions to salvage a livelihood. Attempts at de-segregation
are becoming increasingly complex given the introduction of new packaging techniques and an
increasingly large volume of online sales. The effort at CPS will include creation of ‘tools’
that can help to facilitate life-cycle tracking of MSW from cradle to grave. We look forward
to engaging with several stakeholders deeply involved in the waste value chain.


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