May 21, 2016

Government to soon launch campaign to provide electricity connection to all

NEW DELHI: The government will launch a campaign to make it compulsory to provide electricity connection to all, the power minister said. PiyushGoyal also said he favoured subsidies to farmers who constituted only a small portion of the national demand. 

Goyal said the power ministry would soon approach the Union Cabinet to bring amendments to the UjwalDiscom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) to accommodate states that tried privatisingdiscoms but failed. The government is also working on a takeout financing scheme to revive hydropower plants, he said at a conference, explaining the achievements of the ministries under him in the past two years. 

The minister said the campaign, agreed in principle by all states, would ensure electricity connections to all those who apply for it. “Poor people get electricity connection free of cost. But for those who are above poverty line, the amount paid for new connection will be charged through equated monthly instalments in five years. We are working on such scheme and soon launch it,” he added. 

He said the Indian farmer deserved to get low cost power and that he supported cross subsidisation by larger commercial or industrial establishment for other consumers. 

On hydropower, Goyal said the government was looking at each plant in the country and that he would hold meetings with state power ministers in June to assess the required support. 

He said states like Odisha that failed privatising power distribution had evinced interest to be part of the UDAY scheme. Ten states have signed agreements under UDAY, while eight more are likely to join soon. 

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