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'Major Announcement' Expected in Power Sector on September 25, Says Minister

Power Minister R.K. Singh, who was speaking at The India Power Conclave, a Network 18 event, said that an announcement related to a major scheme is expected, but refused to divulge any more details.

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Updated:September 22, 2017, 11:30 PM IST
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'Major Announcement' Expected in Power Sector on September 25, Says Minister
Representative image (Photo: Reuters/Parivartan Sharma)
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New Delhi: A "major announcement" related to the power sector is expected on September 25 from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Power Minister R.K. Singh, who was speaking at The India Power Conclave, a Network 18 event on Friday, said that an announcement related to a major scheme is expected, but refused to divulge any more details.

"It is a part of the electrification plan for the country and takes forward the 24x7 power plan," is all the former bureaucrat turned power minister was willing to reveal.

He added that the Centre has asked the states to prepare electrification projects which would be discussed and approved for release of funds under the scheme.

According to government sources, the scheme will be named 'Saubhagya' and provide subsidy on equipment like transformers, meters, and wires, reported PTI.

The scheme was listed on the agenda of Cabinet meeting held earlier this week.

About the scheme, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had told reporters after the Cabinet meeting, "Once we take a decision, we will tell you about that."

The government has been working hard to electrify all villages in the country and wants to achieve 24X7 power for all by 2019.

On power sector reforms, Singh talked about bringing legislative changes for introducing stricter rules for enforcing power purchase agreements.

The minister also said he has given a target of bidding out 20,000 MW of wind and 20,000 MW of solar energy projects by the year-end.

Noting the issues related to clean energy making conventional power projects unviable, he said, "I have to balance... (so) that thermal power remains viable."

There were fears that due to sliding solar and wind tariffs, coal-based projects will become unviable and turn into non-performing assets or bad loans.

He also indicated that most of the consumers in the country will shift to prepaid electricity connections which would resolve the issue under-recoveries of discoms, PTI reported.

He also said that his ministry is examining the issue of dumping of solar and other clean energy equipment in the country.

He said if the ministry finds the solar developers' concerns genuine, then the case for imposing anti-dumping duty would be pushed.

Singh was in favour of promoting power purchase agreements under which firms will arrange for power to meet 100 percent requirement of the states.

He also hinted that the government will add more capacity through state-run power giant NTPC in view of the expected rise in power demand.

"India is a growth story. The demand for power will increase," he added.

(with PTI inputs)
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