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Govt targets 24/7 power supply before 2019 elections

MoUs have been signed between the Centre and state governments that by March 2019, they will be able to provide an uninterrupted power supply

Govt targets 24/7 power supply before 2019 elections
Govt targets 24/7 power supply before 2019 elections

New Delhi: The Ministry of Power has set for itself an ambitious goal — making 24/7 power a reality in India by March 2019, just months before the country goes to vote in the next General Elections.

In an interview given to a leading national daily, power ministry Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said that the proposed changes to tariff policies and the amendment to the Electricity Act, which aspires to make power supply available 24/7 to Indians, is likely to be finalised soon. “The tariff policy mainly brings in reforms for the distribution companies so that their losses can be checked and beyond a certain percentage of loss will not be treated as a pass-through. So, discoms will have to become efficient. Any subsidies should be given to the consumers directly and they should make efforts to supply power 24/7. If they do not do that, then they will face penalties. These are some of the major things in the policy which we would like to finalise soon,” Bhalla stated.

The proposed changes to the tariff policy are awaiting approval from the government and once that has been sought, the policy will be announced. Speaking about amending the Electricity Act, Bhalla said that the amended bill will soon be taken to the Parliament.

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‘Most of the groundwork in place for 24/7 commitment’

Bhalla said that over the last four years, different government schemes have already brought in a good quantum of infrastructure. “Under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and integrated power development scheme which is in urban areas and Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in the rural areas, a lot of money has been given as budgetary support to state governments to build infrastructure.

On top of that, the Saubhagya scheme has come in wherein we are funding the last mile connectivity to the households,” the power secretary was quoted as saying. The deadline to complete the implementation of the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and other schemes is March 2019 and by then, the government hopes to meet the target of ensuring 24/7 electricity supply as well.

MoUs signed with states

According to Bhalla, the commitment to provide 24x7 power supply has come from states as a voluntary agreement and MoUs have been signed with the Central government that by March 2019, they will be able to provide the uninterrupted power supply. “We have put in a lot of efforts in building the infrastructure to ensure that the transmission lines are there, the distribution transformers are strengthened and the last mile connectivity of distribution network is strengthened. We definitely are very much hopeful,” the bureaucrat said.

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