Most of the studies on the Indian energy sector focus on the possible future scenarios of Indian energy system development without considering the management dimension to the problem how to ensure a smooth transition to reach the desired future state. The purpose of this paper is to highlight some sector management concerns to a sustainable energy future in the country. The paper follows a deductive approach and reviews the present status and possible future energy outlooks from the existing literature. This is followed by a strategy outline to achieve long-term energy sustainability. Management challenges on the way to such a sustainable future are finally presented. The paper finds that the aspiration of becoming an economic powerhouse and the need to eradicate poverty will necessarily mean an increase in energy consumption unless a decoupling of energy and GDP growth is achieved. Consequently, the energy future of the country is eminently unsustainable. A strategy focussing on demand reduction, enhanced access, use of local resources and better management practices is proposed here. However, a sustainable path faces a number of challenges from the management and policy perspectives. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.