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Karnataka govt mulls direct benefit route to roll out free power – EQ Mag

Karnataka govt mulls direct benefit route to roll out free power – EQ Mag


BENGALURU: The Congress-led state government is likely to take the direct benefit transfer (DBT) route to roll out the poll promise of providing 200 units of free power monthly.

The government has clarified that all consumers, irrespective of their financial status, will be eligible for the free power scheme, provided their monthly consumption does not exceed 200 units.

In the meeting chaired by chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday, energy department officials reportedly proposed the DBT route in order to provide an option to those who are willing to opt out of the benefit scheme.

According to officials of the energy department, the government will have to shell out more than Rs 12,000 crore annually to fulfil its promise of free power under the Guru Jyothi scheme, as there are more than 2.1 crore domestic consumers. Of these, around 1.7 crore consume less than 200 units of power every month.

Under DBT, consumers will have to pay their bills, with the government reimbursing the amount in a month. They will have to provide details of bank accounts seeded with Aadhaar card numbers, along with the RR numbers of their respective electricity supply companies (Escoms). The process will be the same for those residing in rented houses. Those who consume more than 200 units in a certain month will not get any reimbursement for that period, an official said. “It will take a month or two for all consumers to provide their details. The scheme will be implemented from the day the government issues an order and the benefits will be calculated from the date of issuance of the order,” an official explained.

Sources said with consumers having the option to forgo the benefits of the scheme, it will help lessen the burden on the state exchequer.

“In Delhi and Punjab, all households receive benefits of the free power scheme as governments there don’t collect bills from households consuming less than 200 units. So, there is no option for people who are well off to opt out, but DBT does provide that option,” an official said.

“Those not willing to receive the benefits can opt out by not providing their bank account details to Escoms. If five lakh people opt out and pay their bills, it will help the government,” he added.

Source: PTI
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network