Union Power Minister R K Singh on Thursday wondered why there is a movement in India against public sector units, which have laid the foundation of the country's growth.
Speaking at the inaugural session of NTPC's 'Indian Power Station (IPS) 2020' conference being held here, Singh said NTPC is one of the principal foundations of the electricity system in our country.
Because of this, we can ensure that power is available at all times in any part of the country and the price of power does not rise beyond reason, he said.
The market itself is a good regulator but it can also lead to huge profit taking. So the market system is balanced by the presence of a strong PSU, he said.
"For a long time there is movement against the public sector (undertakings). I have seen that because I have been in service for many years," the bureaucrat-turned-politician said.
"Wherever I go I find that the public sector is occupying a large segment in different sectors, including power. Right now I will not talk about privatisation of Air India etc, but (when) I go abroad and I see that most of the airlines are owned by the governments," he said.
"I don't know why there is a movement here in our country against public sector," Singh said, adding that PSUs have been responsible for laying the foundation of the growth of India.
"When there was nothing there was public sector... We did not come here out of choice, we came here because there was nobody else. It does not mean when other people are setting up power plants the government has to exit. No, I don't believe that that is correct.
"That is an aspect which I think we need to talk about and we need to say because there is a lobby out there (which) keeps talking against public sector and keeps talking about privatisation, which I don't support," he added.
Speaking on the power sector, Singh said the government will not compromise with the basic goal of providing affordable energy to people, but will also take care of the environment.
"The developed world (countries) have per capita income and per capita energy consumption more than our country... they are responsible for 95 per cent of the carbon load which is there in environment, not us," the minister said.
"We are not going to shut our thermal power plants just because you (developed nations) have been polluting at some high rate... But as far as our responsibility towards environment is concerned, we definitely feel that we are responsible for keeping our emissions in check. That is why we have announced the target that by 2022, we will achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity and going on from there to 450 GW," he said.
The minister also asserted that power plants flouting the environmental norms will be shut.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)