Seventeen years since the Electricity Act of 2003 was enacted, many of the desired objectives regarding market transformations and efficiency gains in electricity system are yet to be achieved. Undoubtedly, the status quo is unsatisfactory. Indian electricity remains beset with long-standing problems, even while it is faced with a new set of disruptions from ongoing technology-driven transitions. The Ministry of Power (MoP), in the new draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 aptly claims that unresolved critical issues “have weakened the commercial and investment activities in the electricity sector” and “few provisions of the Act are unable to cope with the rapid development of the electricity.” Therefore, there is an urgent need to revisit India’s electricity priorities, the laws governing the sector, and its approach to improving electricity.
But are the reform proposals in the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 adequate and appropriate to address India’s long-standing electricity challenges? Are these prescriptions based on a proper diagnosis of current trends and future challenges? How will these reform proposals affect India’s ongoing transition to 21st century electricity?
In these new comments, researchers at the CPR Initiative on Climate, Energy and Environment, including Ashwini K. Swain, Parth Bhatia, Ira Sharma, Sarada Prasanna Das and Navroz K. Dubash, focus on the serious concerns that the draft raises, and highlight vital gaps and issues that require consideration.
NOTE: These comments are drafted based on internal discussion at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR). They should not be considered an institutional position, as CPR does not take institutional positions on issues. Rather, they reflect the result of internal deliberations, aimed at understanding and reflecting on the draft amendments, with the aim of constructive feedback to the Ministry of Power. For any further queries and clarifications, please contact Ashwini K. Swain (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Parth Bhatia (email@example.com).
The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.