The committee has recommended that adequate funds should be provided to the ministry at the stage of revised estimate so that timely implementation of important programmes can be ensured
New Delhi: A parliamentary panel on Thursday expressed disappointment over reduced budgetary allocation of Rs 15,874 crore for power sector for 2020-21, saying the cut may adversely impact the progress of flagship programmes in the sector. As against the power ministry’s proposal of Rs 33,366.75 crore, the gross budgetary support of the ministry for 2020-21 is Rs 15,874.82 crore, the Parliamentary Committee on Energy said in a report.
For 2019-20 also, the ministry was allocated Rs 15,874.82 crore as against the demand Rs 32,001.11 crore. In 2018-19 an allocation of Rs 15,046.92 crore was made as against the ministry’s demand of Rs 36,843.32 crore.
Considering the importance of various flagship programmes of the ministry and their financial performances in recent years, the committee said “it is disappointed by the budgetary cut made by the Ministry of Finance as it may adversely affect the progress of these programmes.”
The committee has recommended that adequate funds should be provided to the ministry at the stage of revised estimate so that timely implementation of important programmes can be ensured.
It has also asked the power ministry to utilize the funds it has been allocated so that it can post demands for more funds at the time of revised estimates.
Naming a few power sector schemes like Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Saubhagya, the committee said these are not only schemes to provide electricity to each and every household but are also instruments to increase demand of electricity.
Schemes like Integrated Power Development Scheme will help in making distribution sector economically viable and ensuring uninterrupted power supply besides reducing AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses, monetary value of which runs in tens of thousand crores, the committee said.
“Despite various initiatives taken by the government, the conundrum of sluggishness is all pervasive,” it noted.
The electricity sector is already passing through a turbulent phase. Issues like quality and affordable electricity, low per capita electricity consumption and distressed discoms are haunting the sector, it said.
While the demand remains stagnant, long-term power purchase agreements remain under severe strain. These can sum up salient feature of the energy sector, it said adding a long-term, thoughtful and efficacious planning is the need of the hour to make the sector healthy, competitive, sustainable and vibrant.