The start of the New Year is proving to be very bright for India with the power sector achieving two major milestones in the same week. On Thursday, for the first time in the nation’s history, India became a net exporter of electricity. As per Central Electricity Authority, during the current year 2016-2017 (April to February 2017), India has exported around 5,798 million units to Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar which is 213 million units more than the import of around 5,585 million units from Bhutan. Overturning a scenario since mid-eighties of India always importing electricity, the Narendra Modi government has been successful in making India a coal and power surplus nation in a short span of two and a half years. Resolving big hurdles like the chronic shortage of coal, firing up India’s generation capacity, and investing in transmission infrastructure in a huge measure are some of the many initiatives that are showing results and creating a robust power sector.
The next milestone came the next day with India’s rural electrification programme crossing 13,000 villages. Aimed at electrifying India’s remotest villages deprived of energy access, the programme is set to light up all 18,452 un-electrified villages (as on May 2015) well before the 1000 days’ deadline set by PM Narendra Modi.
This promise was reassured in the tweet by Power Minister Shri Piyush Goyal:
A moment of pride as we have electrified over 13,000 out of 18,452 villages. The remaining villages will be electrified by May 2018. pic.twitter.com/Gqu6XY4B4w
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) March 30, 2017
While India is setting milestones on an almost weekly basis, this progress is lost on the Opposition. Congress is busy finding an issue a day, all falling flat since the numbers and progress on the ground is for all to see. Failing to drive a dent in the UJALA programme, Congress tried to refute the government’s claim of India being power surplus. During Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Thursday, former Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia complained that India’s power surplus status is not benefitting the people and 7 crore households are still without electricity.
Being a classic case of ‘asking-for-it’, Scindia received the reply from Power Minister Piyush Goyal that he has given his own report card by raising the issue. Being in power for half a century, Congress left a legacy of scams, inefficiency, and neglect of India’s deprived sections. Goyal informed the House that the NDA government has drastically turned around the situation. Refuting Scindia on questioning India’s power surplus status, Piyush Goyal said that the country is capable of meeting even a 50% rise in electricity demand. Replying to Scindia on why the surplus power is not reaching the people, Goyal reminded him of the dire state in which the Congress left India’s power sector when it was voted out. Giving a snapshot of Congress’s mismanagement, Piyush Goyal pointed to its rule in Rajasthan, where Congress rule left behind a Rs. 15,000 crore annual loss to the state’s power companies.
The minister said that UDAY, the scheme for revival of power companies, will turnaround all loss making DISCOMs, and deliver on the promise of ‘Power for All’.