Q.1) Distribution Companies (DisComs) have been called the lynchpin but also the weakest link in the electricity chain. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Why this question?

  • The Indian government responded to COVID-19’s economic shock with a stimulus package of ₹20-lakh crore, out of which ₹90,000 crore was earmarked for DisComs (later upgraded to ₹1,25,000 crore).  Thus the question.

Introduction: Mention the significance of Discoms in the electricity chain of India.


Brief info about electricity chain-Generators, transmission and distribution

Poor health of discoms:

  • Cross subsidization
  • The AT&C (aggregate transmission and distribution losses)
  • The gap between the cost of electricity bought (average cost of supply) and supplied (average revenue realized) 
  • Debts: 
  • COVID-19 lockdown 
  • Non Performing assets (NPA) Stress in banking sector
  • Lower per capita consumption

Way forward & conclusion: Discoms must therefore, 

  • buy cost-efficient power for consumers, 
  • ensure supply reliability with quality by minimising losses/leakages 
  • accurately meter, bill, and collect payments from the consumers, and
  • thereby, enable timely payments to the generators. 

These are key steps towards sustaining the entire energy value chain without power supply disruptions. There is a need for another scheme to address the shortfall of UDAY’s targets.


Q.2) Analyse the geopolitics of Gilgit-Baltistan in the J&K issue. (150 words)

Why this question?

  • Reports indicate that the Pakistan government is on the verge of declaring Gilgit-Baltistan a province of Pakistan. Thus the question.

Introduction: Since independence Gilgit-Baltistan was governed as a separate entity by Pakistan and not as a part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Islamabad had hesitated to declare it a province of Pakistan because of its claim that J&K is disputed territory and its future must be decided by a plebiscite among all its inhabitants.


  • The revocation of Article 370 
  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) runs through Gilgit-Baltistan and China has invested heavily in the region. 
    • China  opposes New Delhi’s decision to separate Ladakh from J&K. 
      • Beijing views the Indian move as the first step towards India attempting to enforce its claim on Aksai Chin, currently under Chinese occupation.
  • Strategic location: It is contiguous to Ladakh as well as Xinjiang and could act as a staging post against India if a major India -China conflict erupts in Ladakh. 
    • There is already substantial Chinese civilian presence in Gilgit-Baltistan related to CPEC projects. 
    • China is interested in stationing military personnel as well. 

Conclusion: India must calibrate its response carefully to any strategic movement in Gilgit-Baltistanit as it may play into Chinese and Pakistani hands and escalate the situation.