Pushing strongly for the more effective spread of access to power, union power minister R.K Singh while addressing a conference of power and renewable energy ministers and UT’s announced that all states should use allocated funds under various schemes, including IPDS and DDUGJY, to achieve the electrification target for all households by the year-end.
He highlighted how Rs.42000 crore was sanctioned under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), but just Rs.9000 crore has been spent by states and UTs. Moreover, under the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), a total of Rs.75000 crore was sanctioned.
“We are giving funds. But those allocated funds are not being used. We are not able to use money. If we don’t use that (funds), we would not be able to reach any home (or electrify them),” Singh said.
He further stated that the centre has asked all states to import coal to meet their demands and also take steps to augment supply to power plants by improving transport infrastructure like rail sidings.
On the unscheduled load shedding or power cuts, he said, “If there is load shedding we would impose penalty (from April 1, 2019). All of us have agreed on this earlier. Besides, if we don’t plug in losses, reduce cross subsidy and transfer subsidy by direct benefit transfer, we cannot improve the financial health of discoms.”
Under the Saubhagya scheme, the government wants to energise over 40 million unelectrified households in the country. The Rs.16320 crore scheme was launched in September last by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At present, over 7 million families have been provided electricity under the scheme, as claimed by the government. Interestingly, at a household level, the governments own data points to a major lag at states like UP, Bihar and Orissa, where hardly any progress has been made.