power sector political will
WAITING FOR GOD
The common man is angry and does not know where to turn. The country’s power sector is in a perpetual reforms mode. He is demanding action. Power has become the lifeline, essential to basic services like water, transport, education and health. Clearly, the nation needs a recharge. For whom are we waiting?
by Naresh Minocha
POWER is essential. The two things most essential perhaps are power and speed among other things.” So said Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru while advocating self-reliance in core areas at a meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) held on November 9, 1954.
Fifty-eight years later, both electricity and speed in government’s decision-making process have become non-essential. What has become essential instead is the media-orchestrated, NGOs’ campaign against innumerable power projects. The war against electricity generation projects often gets legitimacy due to favourable comments or verdict from judiciary.
The opinion leaders don’t care if the country’s trade deficit and current account deficit gets aggravated due to surging imports of coal and gas. The fact that such imports imply sacrifice of job-creation opportunities in these natural resources industries is also not their concern.
As for the speed cherished so much by Pandit Nehru, the word ‘speed’ has been substituted with policy paralysis, inaction or delays in the present government. The speed in resolving multiple and complex problems in the electricity sector is certainly missing.
The power sector thus remains in perpetual reforms mode with several programmes failing to solve the basic problems in all segments of the sector. It is very difficult to keep track of the many committees that have discussed the same problems and recommended same or similar solutions over the years. And basic problems such failure to achieve targeted cut in power transmission and distribution (T&D) losses, desired hydel-thermal power generation mix and mismatch between investments in generation, transmission and distribution have persisted for decades.....READMORE