The government on Thursday cleared three schemes worth Rs 81,000 crore to strengthen and augment the power distribution and transmission infrastructure in urban and rural India. These are expected to make frequent outages a thing of the past and enable the government to meet its commitment to provide 24x7 power across India by 2019.
Taking a cue from the Gujarat model of providing round the clock electricity to consumers at affordable rates, the Union cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the Rs 43,033-crore Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, which will separate supply of power for agriculture and non-agricultural rural consumption to optimise transmission efficiency.
It will also strengthen transmission and distribution (T&D) and metering infrastructure in rural areas.
“We have drawn the model largely from Gujarat, which is successfully providing cheap 24x7 power, and some other states but each state will have a tailor-made scheme specific to its needs,” power and coal minister Piyush Goyal told HT after the cabinet meeting.
Transmission and distribution losses in India, at 25%, are a major problem for power firms and scares investors away. Much of this loss is a result of theft, often with the overt backing of political parties. Addressing this issue can help solve India’s chronic power shortage.
The cabinet also approved the Rs 32,612-crore Integrated Power Development Scheme for urban areas, which will strengthen the T&D network and metering of power to consumers. Under it, IT-enabled smart grids will monitor power flow, ensuring the supply of electricity from power-surplus areas to power-deficit regions.
The cabinet approved a third scheme worth Rs 5,111 crore for improving power supply in six northeastern states — Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tnpura and Nagaland. It will strengthen the intra-state transmission and distribution system and be implemented with World Bank assistance.