India's newly elected government has appointed Piyush Goyal as its new energy minister.
The former national treasurer, head of communications and MP for ruling party the BJP has now been selected to fulfil the position of minister of power, coal and new and renewable energy (MNRE).
MNRE is the government department currently overseeing the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), which is responsible for directing the national mission (JNNSM).
Goyal will be serving as part of Narendra Modi’s government. The newly elected prime minister Modi has previously advocated solar power to empower people and mitigate corruption, while warning of the economic dangers of relying on imported coal.
Modi has also called for every household to have at least one light bulb and sees solar playing a large part in that ambition. In the BJP’s 2013 manifesto, continuous power, solar-powered agriculture pumps and street lighting are all specifically mentioned.
Just before Goyal was announced as India’s new energy minister, he was reported to be seeking to deregulate the energy sector. Goyal published in the Economic Times, on the 19 May that the newly elected Modi government is to implement a series of initiatives to “rejuvenate investment”, to spur jobs for young people in India as well as welfare schemes and development programmes to alleviate poverty and improve healthcare access.
Goyal’s background is in investment banking, and he has served on the Board of India’s largest commercial bank, the State Bank of India and the Bank of Baroda he is also trained as a chartered accountant and studied law at Mumbai University.
However the decision goes against solar analyst, Bridge to India’s preferred candidate. The firm said in its newsletter 26 May: “It is very important that Modi picks the right minister of whatever ministry solar will fall under. A good choice would be the experienced and capable Mr. Suresh Prabhu.” Prabhu is a fourth time MP representing the state of Maharastra, former industry minister and past minister for environment and forests, and fertilisers and chemicals, he is currently studying a PhD in climate change.