Emphasizing on the need to electrify each and every household across the country, the Minister of Power, R.K. Singh, has asked all the ministers and officials to work together as a team towards the goal.
Addressing the conference of power and new and renewable energy ministers of states and union territories held in Shimla, Singh said that access to energy is a prerequisite for a poverty free India. “Energy is the engine of growth and no country can ever develop with millions of its citizen living without electricity” Singh added.
During the one-day conference, state power ministers, secretaries, and senior officials deliberated upon various issues pertaining to the power and renewable energy sectors in India. Various government programs were taken up for discussion such as – Power for All, Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna (SAUBHAGYA), Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), and Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY).
Addressing the distribution companies (DISCOMs) as the axis of power sector, Singh called upon the states to curb DISCOMs’ losses. He also asserted that subsidies in power sector should be routed through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). DBT was started in 2013 with the aim of simplifying and speeding the flow of information/funds and ensuring accurate targeting of the beneficiaries, de-duplication and reduction of fraud.
Talking of infrastructure development in states, Singh highlighted the slow utilization of funds approved by the center. He also said that center is ready to provide more funds if needed for infrastructure development and the states meeting their targets faster will be incentivized.
Calling the prepaid meters, a pro poor step, Singh said that today a poor person may find it difficult to pay one month’s electricity bill at one go. Smart prepaid meters will enable him to pay in small installments as per his convenience without the fear of his connection being cut. It’ll also eliminate the problem of wrong bills being raised.
Talking of reforms in power sector, the minister said that affordability is the key and a mechanism need to be put in place so that power from most efficient plants is utilized first. This would bring down electricity prices.
On renewable energy front, Singh said that it has tremendous potential but there is a need to balance it with power generated from hydro and gas. He also cautioned that hydro and gas should serve as peaking load not based load. He also mentioned that the government was bringing Hydropower Policy to address various issues facing hydro power sector.
Singh also gave assurance that he would make every effort and work in collaboration with states to ensure that every citizen of India has round the clock power supply.
Image credit: R.K.Singh via Twitter
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.