Coal & Power Minister- Piyush Goyal in a candid interview to Zee Biz Dy Editor Amish Devgan.
Q1. Sir, the Modi government has completed its 100 days in power. My first and foremost question to you is what do you think are the three major achievements of your ministry during these 100 days?
Answer: I think the most important transformation has been under the aegis of PM Modi and first time in the history of this country the government is functioning as an “organic entity” especially in three ministries that function under my governance. I would like to give an example: Recently, during a meet, Power Secretary had proposed that the cess on coal be increased by 100 percent so that the money can be utilized for renewable energy and we agreed on the same immediately. So, this way when the government functions in synchronization, the policies see the implementation at a greater pace.
Secondly, instead of resolving individual cases or issues we are focusing on policy driven governance which can ultimately benefit common man and thirdly, the power generation from coal in the month of June, July and August has risen by 21.6 percent when compared with the corresponding period in 2013. As you are aware, monsoon had played a spoilt-sport this year hence the power generation through hydel was apparently low. Had we not generated the power using coal, the situation of power in these three months would have been terrible. This is the reason why situation of power generation in the country is stable today.
Q2. PM’s office, Coal ministry and Power ministry has been under fire since the time you have taken over. Sometimes, for the wrong reasons like Coal scams and power scarcity too. Do you believe that you have been able to meet people’s sky rocketing expectations from your government?
Answer: Indeed! We are accountable for every work and we are working day in and day out so as to accomplish out target of 24/7 power to every citizen of this country. The people of this country had given 3650 days to the earlier government; we have not even reached 1/4th of that time period. Jan-Dhan yojna announced recently, separate toilet for girls and boys and our thrust on renewable energy; all these achievements in this short tenure of 100 days, I think is commendable in addition to rationalizing the linkages, technology upgradation in coal sector, improvement in railways sector. Moreover, we have taken a 360 degree view on every ministry.
Q3. Sir, during these 100 days your ministry has been making the headlines. What do you is the reason for the same?
Answer: That is because my ministry is one of the most challenging ministry. Moreover, the responsibility of lighting up the entire country now rests on my shoulders and hence people have great expectations from me. Also, I am enthralled with the level of trust that respected PM has shown in me.
Q4. Zee media had quite recently conducted a mega-survey on the performance of Modi government in 100 days wherein you received 70 percent marks in terms of public satisfaction. Will you be able to maintain the same?
Answer: Indeed,the way our government is functioning, the way ministries are functioning in tandem, in complete synchronization with each other, we are confident that we will not only fullfill but exceed the expectations of the people of this country.
Q5. Sir, let me ask you about some recent controversies. Recently PM Modi had inaugurated of lot of projects in various states. However, the opposition (although they have not been assigned the status of LoP), I mean Congress, asserts that a majority of these projects, power projects were initiated by their party and the BJP is simply giving them green signals or more specifically organizing the ribbon cutting ceremony. Moreover, they give the credit of growth in GDP too, to their party.
Answer: See, a government functions in continuity and let me clarify that a majority of these policies were contemplated during the reign of Vajpayee government. The projects which have been inaugurated in J&K by the honourable PM, as I mentioned earlier, were started during the time of Vajpayee government. The thermal power plant in Karampura was initiated by the Vajpayee government. Let me assert, in the last 10 years not even a single project has been undertaken in Karampura. Let me reiterate; the people of this country are watching the pace with which the Modi government is taking decisions and implementing them. If you are referring to the ‘Jan-Dhan Yojna’, let me tell you that this is an original idea and never existed prior to this in this country. I would rather say that had constructive work been done in last 10 years, 30 crore people of this country would’t have been left without the basic amenity of power, a basic bank account let alone the high rate of unemployment. FII’s have started pooling in great deal of money all because they could foresee the thumping victory of BJP govt.
Q6. You must have heard Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s statement wherein he quoted PM Modi playing drum in Japan whereas the people are starving in India.
Answer: When PM goes for a foreign visit, he represents a country and not the party. 2 lakh 10 thousand crore worth of investments have been committed to us in the next 5 years in addition to the latest technology implementations. So, I can simply laugh off at such crudeness and sarcasm made by the people in opposition.
Q7. Scarcity of electricity is still a major issue in this country. Uttar pradesh is indeed the worst affected and situation in Maharashtra too is grim. Even PM has on various occasions stated that the Coal scam is responsible for this crisis. What are your views on the same?
Answer: As I mentioned earlier, had we not increased the production of coal by 21 percent, the situation in the country would have been worse. With the advent of Modi government the situation in India today is far better. In U.P, the state government used to purchase the power amounting to 377 megawatt till 15th May which stopped on 16th May. On 30th May due to some technical fault the production came to a halt and that is when the state government felt the breeze and resorted to casting aspersions on us. That is when I had to present the facts before the nation, the same day that 377 megawatt was procured by the government.
Q8. Will you meet the minister after state elections?
Answer: Of course. I received a phone call from Mr, Akhilesh Yadav and we discussed on this entire issue amicably. So, I believe that the matter will be resolved soon.
Q9. Sir, your leadership is being questioned. Do you have any major issues with Maharashtra CM Mr Chavhan, as the news is doing the rounds lately?
Answer: He is a very senior leader. I would not like to make any personal comments. The main problem before the nation is related to the coal scam. The nation would question his leadership during his tenure in the centre. A day before Ganesh Chaturthi, PM Modi had received a call from Maharashtra’s CM which I returned immediately to discuss the matter and resolve the matter. In the meeting with Mr. CM, I found that the State government simply wants to pass on the burden to the Centre without taking any note of the situation. I immediately called a meeting of Power Secretaries in Delhi and tried to find solutions with all the five major states facing the problem. Problem actually lies on the disagreement between the private power plants and the state governments and not at the level of the centre and the matter is still in the Supreme court.
Q10. Sir, you had earlier referred to the Coal scam. Mr. Chavhan was earlier the minister in Prime Minister’s Office. Your ministry has time and again said those involved in the Coal scam would not be spared. Do you really feel that the existing scarcity of power has its roots in the Coal scam?
Answer: I have given a small booklet stating the achievement of our government in 100 days to all my officials. I have made a special mention of the legacy that I have inherited from the previous government. If I talk of coal production since 2011, it has only grown at the rate of 1.5 percent CAGR per year making it a total of 4 percent in last 4 years. The generating capacity of coal has increased by 73 percent now. Hence, the scarcity of coal is apparently resulting in the shortage of power. I would like to reiterate all the factors like coal allocation scam, environment policies of the previous government, SEPI plan, environment road blocks which are responsible for power situation in the country today.
Q 11. SC in its verdict has said that all coal blocks between 1993 and 2010 are illegal but at the same time govt appointed Attorney General has appealed to the court to give respite to at least 46 coal blocks?
Answer: I would like to assert that have clearly specified through the medium of Attorney General that we have completed faith in court’s verdict. We have never resorted to such measures. However, when the matter was raised in the court that crores of rupees in investment is held up in these coal blocks, then our Attorney General stated that in no way wish to question the court’s verdict. However, we will try to resolve the matter from the perspective of the banks. 40 blocks are operation at present with a production count of 37 million tonne and this year it is 52 million tonnes,we had simply brought this to court’s notice and in no way tried to influence the court’s verdict.
Q12. Sir, do’t you think this if some blocks do get some respite, it will set a wrong precedence, if one do refer to the 2G case?
Answer: I would not like to comment on the court’s verdict. He have full faith in the the judiciary.
Q13. Zee media’s DNA has unearthed lot of issues. Your govt is presently in power. What are view regarding the disclosure on CBI’s Director Mr. Sinha meetings?
Answer: I believe investigative agencies should be run in an autonomous manner and there should’t be any interference from the government’s side. SC will take the final decision.
Q14. We have made revelations regarding CBI Director Mr. Sinha’s meetings with Moin Quereshi, ADAG Group and Vijar Darda too.
Answer: CBI is an autonomous body. I would not like to comment on these matters. SC will take the final decision.
Q15. What is the biggest challenge that you think you have faced in these 100 days? If I talk of Rajnath Singh’s controversy, there were rumours that a minister from your ministry has leaked these matters. Do do believe this is unfortunate?
Answer: I believe all these news are completely baseless. I believe these is no substance to this news.
Q16. Sir, finally the biggest challenge before your ministry.
Answer: We are in power with complete majority. We will lead this nation to becoming a super power.
Q17. In Bihar state elections, BJP lost terribly, due to Lalu and Nitinsh alliance. There are rumours that such an experiment can be repeated in Maharashtra and Haryana?
Answer: By-polls have there own local issues. So there are certain internal dynamics of each state. We are not at all worried and we will register a majority win yet again.
Q18. In the last few months, major projects have been undertaken in the states where elections are imminent.
Answer: This is not true. It was just that the projects in these states were nearing completion.
Q 19. Sir, your government has been witness to the entire history of coal scam. There have been several kinds of verbal attacks on your government on the notion that such scams are biggest impediment to a positive business environment in the country. How would you like to assure the people of this country that such scams do not bring shame to the nation in future?
Answer: I have also mentioned this earlier on your channel too. I would like to reinstate that we have complete faith in the judiciary. Our government functions with complete transparency and we consider the Supreme Court’s decision as final and do not believe in any kind of interference in legal matters. The government has’t made any appeal regarding any of the coal blocks and we will consider Supreme Court’s verdict as the final verdict.