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Politics - Top News - May 28, 2020

Modi Moves India Towards Self Reliant Power Sources

Taking the next step towards self-help and self reliance Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked for Indian states to look for alternatives to low levels of electricity outputs.

PM Modi was addressing review meeting on the work of the ministries of power and new and renewable energy where he pointed out the pertinent problem that most Indian states are facing. He said that the power sector, especially of discoms, vary across regions and states and India should not look for a one-size-fits-all solution.

He has asked states to look at developing at least one solar city, wherein its electricity needs can be met by solar power generation. This calls for a silent move towards India emerging as a powerful clean energy consuming nation in the world.

Worldwide, nations have been devising plans to cut emission rates and work towards more environmentally sustainable energy options.  Many nations like Australia for example have not been able to commit themselves to promising cuts. With Modi’s announcement, India could be looking at each state having either its capital city of the most popular visited tourist city being transformed into a solar power generating hub.

Marrying the idea with technological development, Modi has also indicated that there is a need to focus on creating an ecosystem for manufacturing ingots, wafers, cells, and modules. This will in India’s favour as it is now eyeing a major shift of firms that are looking to move production lines out of China due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Indeed, moving ahead with using the crisis time as an opportunity to fuel the society as a whole, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, a draft Electricity Act (Amendment) Bill 2020 states that the government has pitched for a cost-reflective tariff and setting up an Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority to enforce power purchase agreements (PPAs). It has also ushered in the next generation power sector reforms that include implementing the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme as well.

Moving towards levels of efficiency in power distribution, reform will also include privatizing discoms in the Union Territories of Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Andaman, and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Islands, Ladakh and Jammu, and Kashmir. This is a way to promote retail competition and instilling financial discipline at state-owned electricity distribution companies (discoms). The only challenge would be to keep a check on the pricing that has been usually nominal as the service providers up till now were not privatized.

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