The Hyderabad-Deccan English Daily

Government Surpases Targets Set for the RGGVY under Bharat Nirman Programme

Delhi, Feb 5/2013 : Minister of State for Power, Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia today said that the government has been able to surpass the targets set for the RGGVY under the Bharat Nirman programme. Against a target of 1 lakh villages and 1.75 crore BPL households, the government has provided electricity to 1.04 lakh villages and provided free connections to 1.95 crore BPL households. Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia said this while addressing the 6th Annual Conference of State Power Ministers held in Delhi. The Minister said, the power sector today faces a paradox. There have been unprecedented achievements but still there are unforseen barriers that must be removed if the sector has to grow and contribute to the economic growth of the country and benefit the common man. A record capacity addition of about 55,000 MW during the eleventh five year plan, which is almost as much as the total capacity added in the three earlier Plans put together. He added that, the addition of over 20,500 MW in 2011-12 was the highest ever annual capacity addition in any year. The government has achieved a milestone by successfully testing the world's highest voltage test station of 1200 KV at Bina in Madhya Pradesh, the minister said.

Emphasising on the need of providing electricity to all, the Minister said that the Ministry of Power has proposed the continuation of "Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana" (RGGVY) in the 12th Plan for covering all remaining villages and habitations irrespective of population; and to provide free electricity connections to remaining BPL households in order to achieve the objective of providing access to all rural households. The successful implementation of the scheme is facing a number of challenges. While a number of States like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand have done very well, there is need for closer attention by other States. The State Governments play an integral role in the successful implementation of the scheme, particularly in areas such as timely and quality implementation, regular review and monitoring for resolving implementation related bottlenecks. The benefits of this RGGVY scheme will only be reaped when the State Governments provide regular and quality power supply through this modernized infrastructure to the last mile and finally to every citizen in the country.

He said, restoring the financial health of the state owned distribution utilities should be the topmost priority of state governments. The benefit of the huge generation capacity commissioned and under construction can not reach the consumers if the discoms are unable to purchase electricity due to their financial condition. He mentioned that some Discoms are resorting to load shedding even while electricity is available, which leaves a lot of capacity stranded. It has been noted that in 2012-13 so far, tariff revision has taken place in 18 states and is under finalization in a few more. While electricity tariff has to reflect the true cost of service, the need to minimize AT&C losses is necessary as this would reduce the tariff burden on the consumer. State governments need to enforce financial discipline in the operations of Discoms, he said.

The minister requested that the States specially the 7 focus States, AP, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, UP & Rajasthan need to take quick steps to avail of this opportunity. The Central Government will provide incentive by way of grant that is equal to the value of the additional energy saved by way of accelerated AT&C loss reduction beyond the loss trajectory specified under RAPDRP and capital reimbursement support of 25% of principal repayment by the State Government on the liability taken over by the State Government under the scheme. States will enact the legislation within twelve months from the date of circulation of model legislation by Ministry of Power to mandate the compliance of the provisions of Financial Restructuring Plan(FRP). The minister said that he was confident that with the support of the state governments the power sector will be able to usher a paradigm shift of providing responsible access to electricity for all. Somebody has said that no power is more costly than costly power. This is not to say that power needs to be priced high but it surely needs to be priced reasonably to become sustainable , which is the key to the nation's development.
Managing the world's third largest power transmission system grid is an increasingly complex task. Hence Grid security assumes highest importance and secure and reliable operation has to be ensured at all times. It was only a few months ago that we had to face the great difficulty caused to all by the grid failures in July 2012. We cannot afford a repeat, the minister said. All states must work out and implement suitable islanding schemes in consultation with the CEA, CTU, RPCs and keep the defence mechanism in healthy and operating condition. In order to achieve this, all concerned utilities, statutory bodies, SLDCs, regulatory bodies and the other associated entities need to work in unison towards the common goal of secure and reliable grid operation, he added.

The growth of the Power sector is an important prerequisite for the growth of the national economy and the health of the distribution sector is an index of the viability of the power sector. With our joint action and mutual support, the Central government and the State governments will be able to enthuse buoyancy to the sector and create a robust framework that restores the confidence of all stakeholders.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Shri P.Uma Shankar said that planning power procurement is an important aspect. Absence of long term planning leads to unplanned procurement at high costs impacting health of Discoms. Fuel supply will depend on long term PPAs. Transmission will also be affected by the absence of long term PPAs. It is imperative that power procurement is planned and bids are called for and finalized at the earliest. With the support and cooperation of States, the Power sector will remain healthy, secure and vibrant, he said.
This was the maiden interaction between Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and state power ministers to take stock of the financial restructuring of distribution utilities and other aspects of Power sector. The power ministers from the states deliberated on the progress made on the implementation of the Centre's flagship programmes including Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) and the Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (R-APDRP) etc.



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