Parliamentary panel slams FinMin for low budget allocation to Power Ministry

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The Hindu Businessline, March  13, 2020

The Standing Committee on Energy has lashed out at the Ministry of Finance for allocating only half the amount demanded by the Ministry of Power in the Union Budget for 2020-21.

“The Committee are surprised that this year also, the Ministry of Finance resorted to a budgetary cut of more than 50 per cent. Even the projection of the Ministry of Power for raising extra budgetary resources (EBR) for the DDUGJY (Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana), has been curtailed,” said the Standing Committee of Energy’s report on the demand for grants raised by the Ministry of Power.

“Against the demanded EBR of 10,491 crore, only 5,500 crore is approved by the Ministry of Finance. Likewise, a budgetary allocation of only 5,300 crore has been approved against the projection of 7,000 crore for the DDUGJY,” the report added.

Sectoral distress

“Considering the importance of various flagship programmes of the Ministry of Power and their financial performance in the recent years, the Committee is disappointed by the budgetary cut made by the Ministry of Finance as it may adversely affect the progress of these programmes,” The report said.

“The Committee, therefore, strongly recommend that adequate fund should be provided to the Ministry of Power at the stage of Revised Estimate so that timely implementation of important programmes can be ensured,” it added.

Highlighting the stress in the power sector, the report said: “Demand broadly remains stagnant, AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial Loss) losses defying all efforts to contain them, assured fuel supply to generating units still illusive and long-term PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) under severe strain can be summed-up as salient features of the electricity sector.”

“Instead of ad hoc and eye-wash measures, a long-term, thoughtful and efficacious planning is the need of the hour to make the sector healthy, competitive, sustainable and vibrant,” the report said.

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