Re-packaging one of UPA government's the flagship projects, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday announced five more Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) to be auctioned under a new model of ‘Plug & Play’.
The fine prints of the budget grants to ministry of power however reveal that other major schemes of UPA have either been phased out or subsumed in another program of different name.
In the fiscal year 2015-16, not a single penny has been allocated to “Rajiv Gandhi Gram Vidyutikaran Yojana’– a scheme in the name of former Congress Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for electrifying the villages of the country. Even the revised budgetary allocation for 2014-15 has been brought down by half to Rs 2740.09 crore.
The budgetary allocation to Deen Dayal Upadhayay Gram Jyoti Yojana for 2015-16 is Rs 4320 crore. This scheme was launched in the maiden budget of NDA government in July 2014. This is one of the first and largest replica of Gujarat's model of power reforms, it is aimed at augmenting power supply to rural areas. The scheme involves physically segregating rural feeders for supply to households and rural commercial usage respectively.
The same fate of no budgetary allocation is suffered by Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Program (APDRP) for transforming the power transmission and distribution in the country. This scheme as mentioned in the expenditure budget will be subsumed under “Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS)’. It has been allocated Rs 9 crore and another Rs 16 crore has been given to Power Finance Corporation as a loan under IPDS. The loan to PFC for APDRP has also been reduced to zero, putting a full stop to the program altogether.
To invite private investment, the new UMPPs would be based on ‘plug & play’ model. This means that all the necessary clearances would be prior available and the successful bidder would just need to set up and operate the project. The finance minister also announced that the auction for these UMPPs would be held in a transparent manner.
Ministry of power cancelled the two year long bidding process of two UMPPs in Tamil Nadu and Orissa in December last year after the private players pulled out citing issues on bid document.