New power distribution bill lacks the power to bring change

Pictorially, the idea of a model State Electricity Distribution Management Bill, 2013 can be described as a bulb being lit up on the head of the power ministry, except that the bulb itself is a fused one. In drafting the bill the ministry has repackaged a number of older norms, added a few and has presented it as a new Bill. The bill essentially is a guideline which the state electricity boards are supposed to adhere to. As in earlier cases the bill looks good on paper. The problem lies in the implementation, because the authority responsible for it has a misconceived political interest in deviating from it. The core of the problem in the power sector is in distribution. Once this is addressed, the entire sector will be a financially viable one. But the money involved in keeping the sector in a poor state and political brownie points to be scored by keeping tariff rates low have virtually destroyed the sector. The bill addresses almost all the issues ailing the sector. It aims to make the state governments accountable to ensure financial and operational turnaround and long term stability.

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