Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government on Tuesday cleared a 50% cut in electricity tariffs, delivering on yet another poll promise a day after it announced metered consumers will get 20 kilolitres water every month free of cost.
The government was also on course to ordering an audit by the national auditor into the finances of three power distribution companies, another key poll promise.
The decision to subsidise power tariff, which will involve a cash outgo of Rs. 61 crore in the next three months, was announced by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal after a meeting of the cabinet.
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The subsidy would be applicable to those households that consumed up to 400 units. And those who use electricity above this limit will have to pay full amount for the entire consumption. The decision is expected to benefit 28 lakh of 34 lakh households.
Questioned about the subsidy that will be available only for three months, Kejriwal said further decision on this would be available only after the audit report.
He said the cabinet would meet tomorrow after the three companies submit to the government their views on the proposal for audit of their finances.
"Only after studying their replies we will take a decision whether to audit or not," he said.
To a question whether the government has the right to decide on slashing power tariff when a regulator was there, the CM shot back the government can provide subsidy.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal shakes hands with Comptroller and Auditor General of India Shashi Kant Sharma during a meeting in New Delhi.
Earlier, defying doctor's advice, an unwell Kejriwal met comptroller and auditor general Shashi Kant Sharma to discuss the issue before going into a cabinet meeting.
After the meeting with the CAG, Kejriwal said the national auditor is ready for the job. He said the cabinet will tomorrow go through the representations to be made by the power companies and take a decision.
"Then there will be an order by the Lt Governor," he said, denying that a decision has been taken and only formalities are being completed.
READ: AAP keeps poll promise of free water
He said the CAG told him it all depends on how much work is involved and how fast the companies would provide documents.
The BJP and AAP have been demanding CAG audit of finances of the discoms, alleging huge irregularities by them.
Riding the anti-corruption wave, the AAP made a phenomenal electoral debut by reducing Congress to number three after having tasted power for the past 15 years.
However, all the three companies— BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd—have been opposing it.
READ: Subsidy on power tariff will hurt Delhi: Harsh Vardhan