‘India may be Able to Light Up All Homes by 2018’
Mumbai: India will achieve its ambitious target of lighting the homes in all its villages by 2018, although continuous supply of power may have to wait until reforms in the sector become more visible and tangible, PV Ramesh, who heads the country’s rural power financing agency, told ET.
India has both idle powergeneration capacity and huge unmet demand for electricity: Yet, primarily state-run power distribution companies are reluctant to buy more to avoid financial burden on their otherwise stressed balancesheets. The government introduced UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana), a programme to revive the beleaguered discoms. While UDAY’s benefits are already visible on the financial side, the discoms are yet to start buying more power.
“Buying power is a commercial decision for states. A lot of progress has happened under UDAY in several states but if somebody thought that financial restructuring would bring in miracles, I thing that is too simplistic an assumption,” Ramesh, managing director of Rural Elec- trification Corporation, said in an exclusive interview.
He said that the mismatch in demand and supply would continue until discoms fully adopt the three-step approach of UDAY, entailing financial restructuring, technological modernisation, and better governance.
“Right now, we have only shifted the debt burden from the books of accounts of the states to the government. It doesn’t change anything fundamentally but just takes the monkey off your back and gives a breather to discoms. Now they need to reform their functioning, governance and make huge investment in modernisation. All that would take time,” he said. REC is the nodal agency for Uday.
PV Ramesh, MD, REC