Emphasising the importance of energy conservation, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said the country is seeing huge foreign exchange outgo in meeting energy needs and active government intervention is needed for sustainable growth.

He said the policy making towards energy conservation has to be proactive.

“In today’s macroeconomic context, we stare at acute prospect of having to incur a huge foreign exchange outgo to buy expensive energy,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

Speaking at the National Energy Conservation Awards function in New Delhi, he said active government intervention is needed for sustainable growth.

“Energy conservation also implies the substitution of costly imported energy by cheap energy. This will help in reducing our foreign exchange outgo,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

“Energy security has become synonymous with national security,” he added.

Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia emphasised on the need for conserving energy amid the twin challenges of fuelling growth and providing electricity access to more people.

“There is significant dependence on fossil fuels and the dependence is increasing significantly,” he said.

There is scarcity of resources and hazards of emission from using fossil fuels, Mr. Scindia said, adding that efficient energy use will help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The first cycle of Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) programme, ending in 2014-15, is expected to save energy that is as much as 6.5 million tonne of oil equivalent, he said.

PAT is an energy efficiency programme launched in 2012.

Power Secretary P.K. Sinha said the government is looking to create a market for energy efficiency efforts.