All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) on Thursday claimed that as many as 11 states and one union territory have opposed many provisions of the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020.
According to AIPEF, the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 to usher "so-called reforms" in the power sector threaten to violate long-cherished principles of federalism.
"11 states and one union territory have strongly opposed many clauses of draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 during a virtual discussion in power ministers' meet (on July 3) and demanded to put it on hold," AIPEF spokesperson V K Gupta said a statement.
The states (opposing the provisions of the bill) are Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Punjab. The union territory, which opposed the bill, is Puducherry.
Punjab has objected to the proposal of doing away with free power to farmers and replacing it with the direct benefit scheme. It also opposed the proposal of one selection committee for regulatory commissions as all the appointments would be made by the central government, the statement added.
Maharashtra said the bill was violative of the constitutional mandate and undermined the federal structure, it said.
As per the statement, Bihar said since power is in the concurrent list, the states' consent is required before making any amendment regarding policy matters. Bihar is not in favour of the privatization of power distribution companies.
According to AIPEF, Rajasthan has termed the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 against the spirit of the Constitution and contradictory to the decentralization of power for States in view of its emphasis on the center's control of the power sector despite its inclusion in the concurrent list.
Tamil Nadu has opposed the provisions of the direct benefit transfer scheme (DBT), privatization/franchise, and renewal purchase obligation, it said.
Kerala said that the privatization of the power sector will not be their agenda, it stated.
The states had expressed their views on the bill during a state energy ministers' conference chaired by Power Minister R K Singh on July 3, 2020.