Many of those who don’t want BJP to win again in 2019 may still want Piyush Goyal to continue with the Power and coal ministry. Awkward, as it may sound, the fact is, even the critics of BJP can’t deny the giant strides that power & coal ministry has taken ever since Pyush Goyal has taken office. The achievements of Power Ministry speak for themselves.
Out of the many highs that his ministry has hit, Piyush Goyal – the Minister of State with for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, enumerated a few recent Achievements of the Power Ministry in a press conference recently on January the 4th.
He highlighted 3 of the achievements of Power Ministry
Combined Progress of the Power ministry & the coal ministry-
Piyush Goyal didn’t mince his words when he brought forth the abysmal condition of the Power sector before Modi government took over in 2014. He said, before he had joined office, more than 2/3rd of the thermal power plants in India suffered from lack of adequate amount of coal, in the aftermath of the coal scam.
Taking a jibe on the congress government he said –back in those days, calculation was made on how many units of power could NOT be generated/ or got lost due to unavailability of coal at the right time. Headlines used to be like – power plants will shut down, India will be switched off.
“However, times have changed now, for last several days, consistently, not a single thermal power plant in India has had less than “critical” coal stock (critical means less than 7 days of coal stock).”
All thermal power plants in the entire nation can ensure uninterrupted power supply. They have an average of 23 days of stock. (This data takes into account the topmost 100 critical thermal power plants of India).
Progress on “One nation one grid one price” Plan-
On 29th December, “One nation One grid One price of power” became a reality for the 1st time ever in the history of India. That day there was no shortage of power in the entire country, nationally there was no shortage of stock in power plants. Power was available at a price of 2.35 rupees throughout India.
(No shortage of power does NOT mean that there was no load shedding in the country, it only means, there was capacity to generate that amount of power which can suffice for the total power requirement of the country. Load shedding can have various reasons like – unequal distribution, technical faults in lines & transformers, physical damage of the conducting equipment etc.)
Piyush Goyal also pointed out that 1.5 years ago the price per unit power was as high as Rs 12, Rs 14, and even 18 rupees in parts of India, especially in south India. When he talked about bringing the price per unit of power down, people laughed at him. Yet on 29th December it was Rs 2.35. He was right about the solar energy prices as well!
Government is working with a mission to make it a daily phenomenon. In order to achieve the “One nation One grid One price of power”, transmission lines are expanded and problems are resolved on a real time basis.
Progress on UDAY scheme-
The parliament had approved the UDAY scheme for the DISCOMs on 5th November 2015. (Discom means Distribution companies).
This is a rescue plan for the Discoms, called Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna or UDAY, & it provides “a permanent resolution of past as well as potential future issues of the sector” and empowers the utilities in next 2-3 years.
DISCOMs in the country have accumulated losses of approximately Rs 3.8 lakh crore over the past few years
“UDAY scheme will lead to savings of Rs 1.8 Lakh Crore Annually : said Piyush Goyal”
- Within first 2 months of the UDAY scheme, (from 5th November when the scheme got a nod from the parliament, to the 4th of January) four major states have already signed up with UDAY – Maharashtra, UP, Odisha and Bihar.
- Out of 29 states of India, 15 states have agreed to join in with UDAY scheme. This means, more than half the states of India are on board with UDAY – Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan. Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, J&K, Hariyana, Gujrat, Chhattisgarh, UP, Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra.
- If the area & population covered in these 15 states is taken into account, it will span approximately 3/4th of India.
- The discussions with remaining 12 are on the anvil. Noteworthy is the fact that most of these 12 states as well as all of the Union territories do not have separate Discoms (distribution companies). They are either directly or indirectly dependent on the already covered states.
- 90% of the loss-making DISCOMs have already been covered under the states that have signed up for the UDAY scheme.
In short, the good news is- the country is moving towards “One nation One grid One price of power”, no thermal power plant has problem of coal stock,
“It is time the nation started thinking of managing “surpluses” & forgets about “deficits” in the power sector.”