File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on the coronavirus situation.
In his latest review of the ministries of power and new & renewable energy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that since power-related problems vary across regions and states, a one-size-fits-all policy should be avoided.
“The Ministry should put in place state-specific solutions to incentivize each state to improve its performance,” the PM said, according to the official statement by his office.
He also asked the two ministries to ensure the power distribution companies (discoms) publish their performance parameters periodically. “This is so that the people know how their discoms fare in comparison to the peers,” said the statement.
The power ministry has, in the past five years, launched several schemes to improve the financial and operational health of the beleaguered discoms and track their progress. Most prominent of them was UDAY aimed at turning around the discoms. However the success of the scheme was mixed with discoms slipping back into red again and no significant reduction in their operational loss.
Dashboards and mobile apps such as Urja Mitra, Praapti, Merit were launched to keep a track on the power supply position, pending dues and power purchase rates of the discoms, respectively. Not all states are on board for these apps or feed data timely.
The finance ministry recently announced a Rs 90,000 crore package for supporting the discoms. This would entail a special loan scheme for the discoms to pay their dues to the power generating stations. As the scheme has stringent conditions, it is to be seen which all states are able to borrow under this scheme.
The Prime Minister asked the new and renewable energy to have a holistic approach for the entire supply chain of the agriculture sector ranging from solar water pumps to decentralized solar cold storages.
“Each state should have at least one city (either a capital city or any renowned tourist destination) to have a fully solar-run city through rooftop solar power generation,” said the statement.
The PM said the power sector should use made in India equipment. He also said, “A ecosystem should be developed for manufacturing of ingots, wafers, cells and modules in India. It would also help generate employment in addition to various other advantages.”