atma-nirbhar-bharat-abhiyan-boosting-power-sector-summary

Context: The Union Ministry of Power has highlighted the need of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan in the Power Sector while addressing the Power Ministers of State Governments and UTs through video conference recently.  

Background: 

  • The country’s import bill for power equipment was around  Rs.71,000 crore in the year 2018-19.
    • This is even when India has manufacturing facilities & ability for various requirements of the Power Sector, which includes import of over Rs. 20,000 crore from China. 
  • The Power Sector being strategic and essential in nature is vulnerable for cyber attacks. Therefore, the imported equipment will be subjected to testing  to check the influx of malwares like Trojan etc. 

Achievements in the power sector:

  • A capacity addition of  nearly 15000 MW per year since 2014, connecting 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 a light out event in April 2020, when the grid handled steepest fall and climb in demand within a very short time.
  • A liquidity infusion upto Rs. 90,000 crore for DISCOMs was being given under a Package announced by the Govt of India recently. 
  • Against the demand of about Rs 93000 crore received from States/UTs, an amount of Rs 20000 crore has been approved as of now while the remaining demands are being processed expeditiously. 

Major challenge in the Power sector: Is to make the distribution companies viable and make India self reliant in manufacturing of equipment related to the power sector.  Other challenges

  • Fuel Security Concerns: Thermal capacity addition is plagued by the growing fuel availability concerns faced by the Industry. 
  • Financial Health of State Discoms: Years of populist tariff schemes, mounting AT&C losses and operational inefficiencies have adversely affected the financial health of State Discoms which are currently plagued with humongous out-standing debts.
  • Under-procurement of Power by States: Increasing power generation costs due to limited fuel availability, poor financial health of State Discoms, high AT&C losses have contributed to suppressed demand projections by State Discoms.

Way ahead:

  • New scheme: The Ministry of Power has been planning to launch a new scheme after merging Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS). .  
    • Centre’s funding to States conditional in the new scheme:  
      • The States or UTs whose DISCOMs are not in loss will have no problem in getting the funds. 
      • The states or 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. 
  • A new variant of KUSUM Scheme to be launched, 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.
  • Fuel Reforms: Various aspects like ramping up coal production by both public and private sector in a time-bound manner, increased participation of private sector in coal production and easing of regulatory framework, clearances and approvals for allocation and development of coal blocks & gas infrastructure need to be addressed while formulating such reforms.
  • Balanced Regulatory Interventions: Regulators need to be sensitized to the challenges faced by the sector and policy framework needs to be crafted and enforced to ensure a win-win situation for all the stakeholders. 
  • Increased Financing Facilities for the Energy Sector: A robust and sustainable credit enhancement mechanism for funding in the Energy Sector needs to be put in place through increased participation by global funding agencies like The World Bank, ADB etc. in the entire value chain.

 

Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana

  • The Government of India has launched the scheme for rural electrification in 2015, by subsuming erstwhile Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) scheme.
  • Rural Electrification Corporation is the Nodal Agency for implementation of DDUGJY.
  • Objectives
    • To provide electrification to all villages
    • Feeder separation to ensure sufficient power to farmers and regular supply to other consumers
    • Improvement of Sub-transmission and distribution network to improve the quality and reliability of the supply
    • Metering to reduce the losses
 

Integrated Power Development Scheme

IPDS was launched by Ministry of Power, Government of India in 2014 with the objectives of:

  1. Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network in the urban areas;
  2. Metering of distribution transformers /feeders / consumers in the urban areas.
  3. IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network.

Significance: The scheme will help in reduction in AT&C losses; establishment of IT enabled energy accounting / auditing system, improvement in billed energy based on metered consumption and improvement in collection efficiency.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan 

  • PM-KUSUM scheme was initiated by the Government of India in 2019 to increase the income of farmers and provide a source for irrigation and de-dieselize the farm sector. 
  • This scheme was launched by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for the installation of solar pumps and other renewable power plants across the nation. 
Image Source: ET