Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the power sector in his country to purchase ‘Made in India’ equipment. In a meeting to review the performance of the power sector on Thursday, Modi advised the concerned ministries to work towards converting the power supply in at least one city in every state to solar energy.
India’s power sector has been tottering due to its poor financial condition and a shortfall in revenue collection by most of the state power distribution companies. Although there was no formal evaluation of the total shortfall in revenue collection, it was estimated to be roughly between 20-30 percent in the third quarter of the current financial year, which ended on 31 March.
PM @narendramodi reviews the work of @MinOfPower— DD News (@DDNewslive) May 28, 2020
and @mnreindia; policy initiatives to redress problems affecting the sector, including revised Tariff Policy and Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 discussed (1/4) pic.twitter.com/NLtnZlqfUC
The US $266 billion financial package announced by Modi on 12 May also had a component for the power sector. Federal Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said a day later that close to US $12 billion was to be used as a liquidity injection into power distribution companies.
COVID-19 and the lockdown have accentuated the pre-existing financial problems of India's power distribution companies, with a dip in demand totalling more than 20 percent, according to the state-run Power System Operation Corporation Limited, which is responsible for power management functions.
India had set a target of 1,330 Billion Unit power production from conventional sources for the year 2020-21, 6.33 percent more than actual generation in the previous year.
Early in May, Modi while reviewing the performance of the Defence Ministry had similarly asked to reduce dependence on the import of military suplies. He wanted the ministry to take forward the “Make in India” initiative to build domestic capabilities for designing, developing and manufacturing state-of-the art defence equipment.
The current lockdown, fourth in the series, would end on 31 May, even though the caseload of COVID-19 in the country continues to rise. As of Thursday, the cumulative figure of those who have contracted the virus was over 158,000 according to the federal Health Ministry. However, active cases were only 86,000, while 67,691 people had recovered and 4,531 people had succumbed to the viral infection.