Piyush Goyal | Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy
Power theft is an issue that is concerning the industry, how do we address this problem? If you go to the exhibition, some wonderful equipment is on display like smart meters. I had originally thought, we will install about 3.5 crore smart meters, all those who consume more than 200 units per month. But after seeing them, today I am now getting a feeling that we should change 25 crore legacy meters to smart meters in this country. So, I will talk to my colleagues and they have to take a decision.
What will be the good news for the industry?
So now I am actually thinking that we should actually make it a rule that every new connection given should have a smart meter, and in the days to come India should be totally ´smart´ in every sense of the word.
What is the progress on UDAY and ´Power to All´ initiatives?
I am also delighted to tell you that amongst the profit making states today we have signed a MoU with Gujarat under UDAY, so it is the fifth MoU. Actually we have changed the term to an agreement because now it is no more a Memorandum of Understanding, it´s a legally binding agreement where power, coal, renewable energy all put in their full might and work as a team to make UDAY a grand success. I am also delighted to inform you that today seven states have made committed plans how they will achieve 24/7 power for all citizens by 2019, already 11 states had signed 24/7 document, today seven more states have signed 24/7 document. So, 18 states have a cogent implementation plan to achieve 24/7 power by 2019. The rest of the states work is going on and will be ready by 31st March. Lastly, today we have also had the privilege of reviewing the rural electrification program out of 18,452 villages we have already crossed 5200 villages, all that data is publicly made available. Today, all the states have rededicated themselves to completing this whole task by 31st march 2017. and reach power to all these villages which have been deprived for 68 years since independence.
One last piece of information I want to share with all of you. We are also further discussing between all the various stakeholders in consultation with the states how the process of coal linkages to the power plants will be carried out.
As an important part of the infrastructure sector have you asked for any special demands for power sector in the budget 2016-17?
My sector stands on its own feet, we do not require any support from the budget. In fact we are happy to support if honourable finance minister in whatever way we can especially considering he has a huge burden of Pay Commission, he wants to provide more money for farmers, he wants irrigation to expand in a big way. So there are so many important priorities, power sector through innovation, through integrating economies of scale with modern technology will be able to serve the people of India without any budgetary support.
Seeing the outstanding exhibition ´Elecrama 2016´ that I had the privilege of inaugurating today. The effort that has gone into bring the entire industry on one platform and create possibly the largest ever exhibition in the electrical and power side is truly reflective of the resurgent mood that we are seeing in the country today particularly in the power sector where all of us working as team India, be it the ministry of power, be it the ministry of coal, be it the ministry of renewable energy, supported fully by environment, finance, mines, steel, DIPP, the entire eco system is working together along with the states, along with public sector undertakings, along with the private sector, this whole teamwork has empowered Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi´s confidence that India will give 24/7 uninterrupted quality affordable power, well before 2022. Given the good work that all team is putting in and the innovation I got to see at Elecrama2016 today, I am confident this can happen by 2019.
One side you call it entire success and on the other side some of the states are facing the same electricity problems. Even in Karnataka where the event is happening?
Karnataka had a problem which I mentioned in my speech also that they didn´t have hydro power because of deficient monsoon. When their 1,000 megawatt power shortage came in there was no ability to transmit power because for decades India has not invested enough in transmission. Now that is a legacy this government inherited. Despite that in 18 months we have added 71 per cent transmission capacity to south India. Further in the next 18-24 months we are adding another 80per cent capacity which means in 3.5 years of Prime Minister Modi becoming PM the transmission capacity for five southern states would have become 3 times and by 2019-2020 this will increase to 18,000 megawatt (MW) which will be five times what it was when Prime Minister became the leader of the nation. I personally called each chief minister and Tamil Nadu the power minister because I couldn´t reach the chief minister, she is inaccessible. But I talked to all of them and appealed that give at least little bit of power for Karnataka they are having a problem. Sadly even their own party state in the neighbouring region refused to give power for their own people. But then I took my executive powers and reallocated additional power for Karnataka to serve the people of Karnataka, that is the spirit of Prime Minister Modi who does not want politics to come in the way of serving 125 crore Indians.
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