New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) Stressing upon energy security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India will have to be independent in this area and seek new avenues to replenish existing sources in a bid to serve the growing appetite of the people. The view was echoed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
"We need to be independent when it comes to providing our people with energy," Modi said, while inaugurating the "Urja Sangam - 2015" international conference on energy security at the Vigyan Bhavan conference complex here.
He also pitched for people who are well-off to surrender their fuel subsidy entitlement.
"People who don't need LPG (cooking gas) subsidy and those who are capable of managing without it should give it up. I ask you to join this movement. Give up gas subsidy. Create a record. The subsidy that you will give up will go a long way in benefitting the poor people."
People are already giving up their subsidy, Modi said and added that "over 2.8 lakh consumers have surrendered LPG subsidy, resulting in a saving of Rs.100 crore to the exchequer".
He called for bringing down oil and gas imports to 67 percent by 2022, and lower it further to 50 percent by 2030.
"We will be celebrating 75th year of our independence in 2022. Today, we import 77 percent of our oil and gas. Can't we target lowering of imports at least by 10 percent by 2022 to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their life for our freedom," Modi said.
Jaitley said the government required to pay attention to oil exploration to reduce the country's energy imports.
"Need to look at our oil exploration programme, acquisition of assets overseas to cut dependence on energy imports," Jaitley said at the valedictory session of the conference.
Infrastructure development and the creation of smart cities will all add to economic activity and will increase the need for oil, gas and power, he said.
According to Modi, energy corridors need to be developed between India and the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The international energy conference "Urja Sangam 2015: Shaping India's Energy Security" is being attended by cabinet ministers, policy makers, global chief executives (CEOs) of energy firms and academia.
At the conference, Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal said the country can save up to $7 billion annually by replacing incandescent lamps with energy efficient LED bulbs.
�We have set challenging targets to save energy as energy conservation has an equally important role to play with generation. We are looking at savings of nearly 100 billion units of power, by the use of LED lights, translating into $7 billion annually,� he said.
In the next three years, LED bulbs are going to completely replace the current incandescent bulbs, he added.