India’s power utilities owe banks $90 billion, cripple future

India’s state electricity utilities collectively owe Indian banks Rs 545,922 crore ($90.5 billion), according to the Power Finance Corporation’s latest report.

This is a sum equivalent to two-and-a-half times the defence budget; roughly six times the amount that will be spent this financial year on building roads; and enough to wipe out India’s fiscal deficit.

The data reveal the urgent need for electricity reforms and the amount of money being wasted at a time when India is cutting back on health and social-sector spending.

Electricity utilities incurred a net loss of Rs 62,154 crore–$10.3 billion–during the financial year 2013-14. This is not a one-off: losses have been in this range for the past several years in a row.

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