Girish Sant Memorial Fellowship 2020

Girish Sant, a pioneering policy researcher and public interest advocate in the energy sector passed away unexpectedly in February 2012. Prayas and several friends and well-wishers of Girish have set up a fellowship program to encourage researchers to imbibe his values and approach of high quality analysis, commitment to social equity and emphasis on policy impacts.

Applications are invited from interested candidates to avail of fellowships to be awarded in 2020. The deadline for applications to be submitted is Wednesday, September 30, 2020. Details of the fellowship, the application process and selection criteria are given below.


The objectives of the fellowship are to encourage Indian researchers in the early part of their careers to take up public interest oriented research in the Indian energy sector, and to provide some financial and professional support for such research. Hence, we are looking for motivated researchers and activists / advocates who are committed to a career in public interest research in the energy sector, and who are keen to explore some research question in this space.

The fellowship research topics

Fellowship applicants are free to propose any topic of research for the fellowship in the broad area of advancing public interest in the energy sector. A few suggestive areas of research for the same are:

  1. Links between political economy and energy transitions including issues of employment and fiscal federalism
  2. Enhancing access to modern energy for the marginalized / poor
  3. Theoretical and practical aspects of regulation and governance in the energy sector
  4. Analyzing / improving energy efficiency programs in the country
  5. Challenges in India at the intersection of environment and energy

Considering the possible difficulties of conducting field-based research due to the pandemic this year, we encourage research proposals which require a mix of desk research and secondary data analysis. As the fellowship is intended to support research activities, it will not support activities such as implementation or mobilization. The Girish Sant Memorial Committee reserves the right to decide which topics to accept or reject.

Details of the fellowship

  1. Only one fellowship would be awarded. The fellowship amount would be ₹ five lakhs. Funds would be disbursed on a quarterly basis with 20% being awarded at the beginning of the fellowship and 20% at the end of every subsequent quarter.
  2. Selected fellow is expected to work by and large independently.
  3. Selected fellow can be associated with another organization. In such a case, the respective organization should agree with the research proposal and agree to mentor and guide the research activities to the extent required.
  4. The duration of the fellowship will be twelve months.
  5. The selected fellow is expected to work full-time on the fellowship during the fellowship period, even if he/she is associated with another organization.
  6. Prayas (Energy Group) encourages the fellow to spend some time at Prayas or like-minded institutions to interact and engage with the researchers there.
  7. Prayas (Energy Group) will be happy to provide some mentoring and guidance to the selected fellow.
  8. The fellow is expected to produce a final research report which will be available freely in the public domain, including the Prayas (Energy Group) website.
  9. The fellowship would be awarded to one individual.
  10. The fellowship program would be managed by the Girish Sant Memorial Committee and administered by Prayas (Energy Group). The decisions of the Girish Sant Memorial Committee are final and binding regarding the fellowships.

 The fellowship application process

  1. The applicants should submit an application electronically for the fellowship to Applications should reach us by Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
  2. The application – in Microsoft Word or pdf format – must contain the following details:
    1. A complete bio-data giving the candidate’s date of birth, contact details, details of education, work experience, research and other interests, and list of publications
    2. A detailed research proposal (not exceeding five pages in single spacing 11 point font) which should contain
      1. A description of the research problem to be explored 
      2. Relevance and importance of the problem
      3. Approach / methodology to exploring the problem including approximate timelines
      4. Name and details of the associated organization where the work would be conducted, if applicable
    3. Names, email addresses and phone numbers of two respected individuals from the energy and/or development sectors who can be contacted for references
  3. Applicants are encouraged to ensure that the research proposal states the problem clearly and succinctly.
  4. Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Selection process

  1. Applications would be evaluated based on the bio-data of the applicant and the research proposal. The qualities that would be looked for in the application include a commitment to public interest and sustainability, clarity of thought and expression, novelty and relevance of the research problem, analytical rigour, ability to address the problem and appropriateness of the problem for the fellowship budget.
  2. Applicants enrolled in an academic program including PhD are not eligible to apply for the fellowship.
  3. The applicants who clear a preliminary evaluation of the bio-data and research proposal will also be interviewed, in person and/or over telephone / internet. The suggested referees may also be contacted to gain further insights about the applicant.
  4. Upon intimation of selection as a fellow, a formal letter from the associated organization, where applicable, stating its agreement to the research proposal and willingness to support and mentor the applicant should be submitted. The selected applicant also needs to sign an undertaking agreeing to the conditions of the fellowship to complete the selection process.
  5. The entire evaluation process may take up to two months. 

For more information

You may visit the website of Prayas (Energy Group) at to know more about the work of Girish Sant and Prayas (Energy Group). We welcome queries regarding the fellowship at



Memorial Activities

Girish Sant Memorial Annual Event, 2021

A Panel Discussion on

Energy: Taxes and Transition

The energy sector, and in particular, fossil fuels are a significant contributor to the overall revenue of India’s central and state governments. For example, the GST Compensation Cess, which started in 2010-11 with a cess of ₹50/ton on all coal has kept increasing over the years and now stands at ₹400/ton. Further, governments have traditionally depended heavily on taxes from petrol and diesel, and recent increases in excise and VAT further demonstrate this. Roughly 60-70% of the final prices of diesel and petrol respectively are made up of taxes. The total contribution to public tax revenue from taxes on coal, petroleum & natural gas, and electricity sectors amounted to about ₹6 lakh crores out of a total revenue of about ₹34 lakh crores in 2018-19. The taxes on energy sectors contributed 25% of the total tax revenue of the Centre, and 13% of the total tax revenue to the states. Since many energy sources are outside GST, these taxes cannot be offset. Moreover, since the bulk of the tax revenues from the energy sector accrue from fossil fuels, the inevitable energy transition away from fossil fuels towards renewables and electric mobility will have a significant impact on public tax revenues.

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