Shri R.K. Singh, the Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (IC), highlighted the need of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, envisaged by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, in Power Sector while addressing the Power Ministers of State Governments and UTs through video conference. He said that our country’s import bill for power equipments was around Rs.71,000 crore in the year 2018-19 even when we have manufacturing facility & ability for various requirements of the Power Sector, which includes import of over Rs. 20,000 crore from China. He said that Power Sector being strategic and essential in nature is vulnerable for cyber attacks. Therefore, he added, imported equipments will be subjected testing to check influx of malwares like Trojan etc. He also stressed that it should be our sincere endeavour to promote manufacturing of power infrastructure equipments within the country.
Shri Singh stated that a lot has been achieved in the power sector which includes a capacity addition of nearly 15000 MW per year since 2014, connecting of the entire nation through one grid spanning far off areas like Leh and Ladakh with grid. India,s Grid system is one of the best in the world which was demonstrated during light out event on 5 April, 2020 when our grid handled steepest fall and climb in demand within a very short time. Now the major challenge in Power sector, he said is to make the distribution companies viable and make our country self-reliant in manufacturing of equipment related to power sector. As such, liquidity infusion upto Rs. 90,000 crore for DISCOMs was being given under a Package announced by the Govt of India recently for losses upto 31st March, 2020. He informed that against this demand of about Rs 93000 crore has been received from States/UTs and an amount of Rs 20000 crore have been approved as of now while the remaining demands are being processed expeditiously.
Speaking to media through VC, the Minister informed that various States/UTs Governments requested for extending the Union Govt’s package to cover losses upto June 2020. will be considered to extend the quantum of support by the union Government. The Minister stated that the demand of the States/UTs for extending the support will be considered.
The Minister also informed that a new scheme will soon be announced after merging Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS). . Centre’s funding to States is being made conditional in the new scheme. The States or UTs whose DISCOMs are not in loss will have no problem in getting the funds but the states/UTs whose DISCOMs are in loss will have to give a proper plan as to how they are going to eliminate the losses to get funds. He added that State/UT Governments will get some flexibility in the new scheme to enable them to plan according to their specific needs. Shri Singh underlined that States Governments and UTs have been given around Rs. 1.5 crore every 3-4 years to improve the infrastructure in Power sector but the same situation keep repeating itself due to lack of non-adherence to loss reductions trajectory. That is why the adhering to new scheme is proposed to link the funding to the reforms.
Shri Singh congratulated officials related to power sector for commendable job during the Lock down period in wake of Pandemic Covid-19. He said that now we have achieved a capacity of 3.7 lakh megawatt in power generation against a demand of 1 lakh 85 thousand megawatt. We are also supplying power to many countries.
In the second session of the video conference, issues of New and Renewable Energy were discussed. The Minister said that we are planning to launch a new variant on KUSUM Scheme in which the feeder to the agriculture sector will be solarized. It will eliminate the burden of subsidy of State Governments which they give in irrigation in next 3-4 years.
He thanked all the Chief Ministers, Deputy Chief Ministers and Power & NRE Ministers who participated in the conference and gave their valuable suggestions and apprehension of States and UTs were discussed and clarified. The Minister stated that various State /UT Governments and other stakeholders have given various suggestions on the proposed Electricity Amendments Bill,2020, and the suggestions made during the meeting were noted while their mis-founded apprehensions were clarified.