Open Forum

Can India offer power to all?

Arvinder Bir Singh, Vice President Solar Business, EAPL

Yes, with its power generation capacity of 330 GW India has the potential of offering power to all. To offer power to all digitization of the network is a must for a sustainable electricity chain in the 21st century. Digitization and smart grids would be a major way to curb electricity theft, and in turn, bring down AT&C loss levels. Under the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (Uday) scheme, 1.75 crore smart meters are to be installed across 22 states for domestic consumers using 200-500 units a month. India has had a worrisome past as far as its power sector is concerned, a tract record marred by poor generation capacity, inadequate transmission network, overburdened distribution system and leaping debts. But the situation has seen a turnaround in the past 3-4 years and with the present scenario India definitely can offer power to all by 2022.

Hartek Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, Hartek Group

The government’s initiatives towards achieving the “Power for All” target are bearing fruit as the power sector, which was marred by continuous shortages and lack of steady supplies, witnesses an unprecedented turnaround. From the 99th position globally in 2014 in terms of electricity accessibility, India is at the 26th spot today, thanks to the renewed focus and higher spending on schemes like the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, which is aimed at achieving 100 per cent rural electrification.
But the avowed objective of affordable power for all cannot be achieved unless we have a robust transmission and distribution network in place. India needs to gradually upgrade its grid ring system to 1,200 KV so that maximum power can be transferred to the central ring and suitably distributed among power-deficient areas. Simultaneously, we must work out ways to provide electricity to remote areas, where the power supply costs are the highest. This is where off-grid solar can fill the gap. Significantly, the 100-GW solar generation target for 2022 includes an ambitious 20 GW from off-grid systems alone. We are on the right track and, given the momentum, the “Power for All” target looks achievable indeed.

Sharan Bansal, Director, Skipper Limited

Last year several initiatives were launched by the government to achieve the target of 24X7 electricity for all. According to industry sources almost half a billion people of India have gained access to electricity since 2000, almost doubling the country’s electrification rate. This remarkable growth puts our country on a course to achieving access to electricity for all in the early 2020s – an immense achievement. Moreover, the current budget allocates Rs 3,800 crore for Deendayal Upadhayaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DUGJY) and Rs 4,900 crore for Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) along with Rs 16,000 crore for the Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) to enable last mile connectivity for rural households, which is definitely a boost for electricity for all. Providing 24X7 power for all – under the Saubhagya scheme – is one of the current Govt’s ambitious projects and we are of the view that the government is moving in the right direction to turn this into a reality and customers would be getting reliable and quality power.

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