Monday, October 3, 2022

AIPEF wants govt to put National Electricity Policy 2021 on hold for now

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  • The government of India is adopting the strategy of exploiting grave crisis conditions of the pandemic to push through so-called ‘reforms,’ the AIPEF Chairman said

  • The draft National Electricity Policy, 2021, has proposed more private participation in the power sector and removing the monopoly of state-run DISCOMs

        
New Delhi: Days after the Ministry of Power issued a draft of major amendments proposed to be carried out in the National Electricity Policy, 2021, the All India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF) has demanded on Tuesday that the draft amendment be put on hold in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The proposed changes would require extensive discussion and debate amongst power engineers, employees and other stakeholders. The AIPEF demands that the ill-timed draft amendment be put on hold and the time period for the submission of comments be extended for a period of six months,” said AIPEF chairman Shailendra Dubey in a letter addressed to Power Minister RK Singh.

While stating that the proposed changes are of serious nature, Dubey attacked the Ministry of Power for using the peak of the pandemic as an opportunity to launch the draft amendments to National Electricity Policy, 2021. “The government of India is adopting the strategy of exploiting grave crisis conditions of the pandemic to push through so-called ‘reforms’ which would not have been possible under normal circumstances. The strategy is clear to ‘never waste a crisis’ and use the crisis to steamroll so-called reforms,” said the AIPEF chairman.

Govt has left out power engineers, employees: AIPEF chairman

Dubey said that the draft has been floated in public by the Ministry of Power for getting comments from stakeholders. “The Union power ministry has asked states and industry associations to submit their suggestions for framing the National Electricity Policy (NEP), 2021, within the next three weeks, but the most important stakeholders… the power engineers and employees… have been left out. They must be given a fair opportunity to submit their views and objections,” the AIPEF chairman said in the letter.

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The letter further said that once the draft policy is finalised, the notified policy would have the status of “subordinate legislation,” and for this reason, the matters need to be deliberated. 

Draft National Electricity Policy, 2021, pushes for more private participation           

The draft National Electricity Policy, 2021, has proposed more private participation in the power sector and removing the monopoly of state-run power distribution companies (DISCOMs). The preferred routes being proposed include the franchisee system, transferring distribution responsibility to a private party, and separation of carriage (wire) and content (supply) business.

While terming the proposed privatisation routes as ‘failed models,’ Dubey said that it has been observed on several occasions in the past as well that the government is being guided and controlled by a lobby of economists whose priority is to dismantle the public sector and promote privatisation.

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