“India is moving from power shortage to power surplus, network failure to the exporter. We have also moved towards ‘One Nation, One Grid’.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed regarding his achievements with power sector.
There are some credible achievements that NDA government has racked up, and there are no doubts about that. Some of them are electrification of villages, getting a power connection to each household or the move to end the monopoly of Coal India. However, there is still a number of challenges that need to be overcome with regards to electrification in India.
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Firstly, there has been slashing of allocation to the Ministry of Power by the NDA government by half in the Budget for 2018-19 to Rs 15,046.92 crore (against a demand of Rs 36843.32 crore). This can affect adversely to the flagship sector schemes such as those for electrifying each village, getting electricity to each Indian household, improving electricity distribution, etc.
Secondly, there are still 1,234 such villages that are without electricity till January this year, according to data provided by the ministry of power to a Parliamentary Standing Committee while presenting its demand for grants for 2018-19.
Thirdly, another target of NDA government is the provision of electrical connection to every Indian household by March 2019 under the ‘Saubhagya scheme’. According to the committee, this is unlikely to be achieved.
Lastly, and this is probably the biggest challenge to the NDA government in relation to the rapid power generation capacity increase, is the stressed situation as far as the funding is concerned. There is stressed asset in this sector and the banks are suffering from huge nonperforming assets (NPAs), which itself is a constraint to fund the electrification projects.
Therefore, while NDA has actually achieved certain things in the electrification landscape of the nation, their achievements is not enough to take the situation out of the darkness. It is sort of a half-hearted attempt that has given partial results, rather than what Narendra Modi claims as a landmark achievement.