You are here: Home » Economy & Policy » Q&A
Business Standard

We're world's best power grid: Veerappa Moily

Interview with Power minister

Kavita Chowdhury 

The new power minister, in an interview with Kavita Chowdhury, talks about the challenges before him and how he intends to address those. Edited excerpts:

You have taken charge of the power ministry at a time when the country has seen the worst power crises in recent times. What are the immediate challenges before you?
Power is a very crucial sector, as it fuels growth; one per cent increase in power generation leads to one per cent increase in gross domestic product. For an inclusive economy like India, the power sector needs to keep pace with the industry’s growing demand.

What happened yesterday was the first such case since 2001. As soon I took over, I promised power supply would be restored at the earliest. And, now the power situation has stabilised 100 per cent. After all, we have the world’s best and largest power grid.

A committee has been constituted to probe the breakdown, and it would give its report in 15 days. Today, I held a meeting with this committee; it is looking into the causes and remedies. It would also ensure the stabilisation is sustained. With complete confidence, I state such things will not recur.

Your taking over seems to have been a case of ‘bad timing’, coinciding as it did with banner headlines screaming ‘world’s worst-ever power crisis’.
In these matters, we have no choice. But it can be considered an opportunity for me to prove myself.

Overdrawal of power by the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab has been cited as the reason behind the breakdown.

That was not the only reason. I do not want to get into a blame game of state versus state. I have convened a meeting of chief ministers and power ministers of the nine states affected by the power breakdown on August 6. The secretary in the power ministry would also hold a meeting with power secretaries of respective states on the same date. The purpose of the meetings would be to ensure this type of a crisis doesn’t recur.

The state governments and the Centre have to take steps to ensure this. The system has to work complementarily; this kind of debate--- state versus state or Centre versus state---should not be encouraged.

State governments and political parties have been doling out free power to the agricultural sector to win over electoral vote banks. Do you think it is time to put an end to this?
Why do you say that? Free power in the agriculture sector benefits agriculture. But it is true that a minimum rate would have to be paid by each state; resources for that have to be mobilised somehow. Electricity boards can’t live on borrowings. They can’t be debt-ridden.

Currently, 26 per cent of the losses are due to those arising from transmission and distribution, power thefts, etc. If this is reduced to 10 per cent, we would save that much power. All electricity boards are in debt. This can’t continue.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, August 02 2012. 00:35 IST