Ministry of Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy

Government bureaucrats can hardly be accused of being the sharpest knives in the drawer. I have met many of them and have been uniformly underwhelmed by their understanding of the subject that they are charged with governing. Here’s an example. Most of us get by with using the words “power” and “energy” interchangeably in everyday speech. But I have met poorly educated engineers (around 80 percent of Indian engineers) who couldn’t precisely distinguish the two. They are anything but interchangeable. Although I cannot be sure, I am willing to bet that the bureaucrats and politicians in the ministry that deals with energy — one of the most critically important inputs in any economy — don’t know the distinction between energy and power.

How do I know this? By just noting the names of the ministries that deal with energy: Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal, and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The first should have been called “Ministry of Energy” or the last called “Ministry of New and Renewable Power” for consistency. They clearly think that the words mean the same. Whoever came up with that name certainly does not know precisely what power is and how it relates to energy.

Is this pointless quibbling? Not really. If people display such ignorance in basic matters, it should come as no surprise that they don’t understand very much about the world that they control. Their interference into things they don’t understand has catastrophic consequences.

(I wonder how many of the readers of this post know the distinction, and how many of those who don’t know are engineers.)

Author: Atanu Dey


One thought on “Ministry of Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy”

  1. I wrote a long post on what makes a logically complete responsibility for an appointed minister and how certain functions should transcend across ministries. I proposed “Ministry of Energy Sufficiency” to ensure a balance is struck between development of renewable and non-renewable energy sources to meet the power needs of the nation.


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