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Editorial | October 2017

Impressive performance, Piyush

In the little over three years when Piyush Goyal was at the helm as the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal and New &amp; Renewable Energy, he has brought in a visible transformation in the complex process chain of the economically crucial power sector. <p></p> <p>If one were to look into the rear view mirror, one of Piyush's greatest achievements has been improving coal supplies, increasing coal linkages and their rationalisation, all addressing the power generation segment in the sector. The result: Dispatch of coal from Coal India rose from 488.86 million tonnes (MT) in 2014-15 to 542.82 MT in 2016-17, while coal imports were down from 217.78 MT to 190.95 MT during the same period, thus, saving foreign exchange of Rs.25,900 crore. Introduction of Scheme to Harness and Allocate Koyla (SHAKTI), allowing auction of CIL's coal linkages to power plants on a long term basis comes as an icing on the cake.</p> <p> Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) aimed at improving the financial and operational parameters of power distribution companies (discoms) by transferring most of their debt to the respective state governments. By now, many of the 27 states that have joined the bandwagon are showing some improvement in their operational parameters viz. reduction of AT&amp;C losses, bridging ACS and ARR gap and institutionalising the tariff revision mechanism. Analysts are exuding hope that if the scheme proves successful then it has the potential to boost the power sector as a whole by increasing demand for power and improving supply scenario across the board.</p> <p>Village electrification scheme, which targeted to light up the last 18,452 unelectrified villages, has already reached power to 14,483 villages by now, covering about 78 per cent of the target. It wishes to cover the remaining 2,981 villages by May 2018. The most successful and most popular scheme of the Ministry of Power is Ujala scheme, under which use of LED bulbs are being promoted as energy efficient lighting systems. Under the scheme, the public sector Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has distributed 26.56 crore LED bulbs across the country, at affordable prices. Building on the scheme's success, EESL is spreading its wings outside the country. It has recently launched its services in Malaysia. </p> <p>Piyush's term will also be remembered for bringing down the prices of solar and wind power through a competitive bidding process. Now, these two renewable sources are competing with the conventional sources at Rs.2.42/kWh and Rs.3.46/kWh respectively. A timely push to renewables has paid off.</p> <p>However, the issues in power sector are not something that can be solved in a matter of a few years. RK Singh, a seasoned former bureaucrat, who has taken over the baton from Piyush Goyal, following the recent cabinet reshuffle, has his hands full. Besides taking the schemes launched by the government over the last three years to their practical conclusion, Singh has to focus on issues like problem of surplus power, due to which several generation projects are in doldrums operationally and financially. He has to handhold the states till they achieve UDAY's objectives. Much more is in his way with the Modi government making power sector the pivot for electoral prospects. The recently launched 'Saubhagya' scheme is the case in point.</p> <p>Power Today pays kudos to Piyush and welcomes Singh.</p> <p> Follow me on twitter @PratapPadode</p>
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