NITI for 24×7 power for all families, electric vehicles
Government think tank NITI Aayog has pitched for 24×7 electricity for all, bringing reforms in diesel and petrol pricing, and city gas distribution in 100 smart cities in its Three-Year Action Agenda released today.
The document, unveiled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, also calls for steps to promote electric cooking and adoption of electric vehicles.
Besides, the Aayog has also suggested the government to ensure availability of electricity, petrol, diesel and gas at competitive prices to households, in the document to be implemented by 2019-20.
According to the document, the energy sector is fundamental to growth and development. Being a large sector, energy also contributes directly to the growth of the economy in a major way.
The Aayog expressed concerns that at present, 304 million Indians do not have access to electricity and around 500 million Indians are dependent on solid biomass for cooking.
Besides it said that India’s per capita electricity consumption remains a fraction of major economies. Average transmission and distribution (T&D) power losses stand at 23 per cent.
It pointed out that as India fulfils its ambition of 8 per cent plus growth in the coming 15 years, its energy needs will multiply manifold even taking into account enhanced energy efficiency.
The government has already committed to bring electricity to every village by May 2018 and to every household by 2022.
The Aayog said that an even more ambitious goal would be to provide electricity to all households on 24×7 basis.
Within the existing LPG network, the Aayog said that India must launch a campaign to bring LPG connections down to one per family and target 100 smart cities for the provision of gas via the City Gas Distribution (CGD).
It said that for expanding the penetration of natural gas, the CGD network should be extended to 326 cities by 2022 through suitable changes in bidding/regulatory practices
of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).
It further said that the work should also be resumed in about 10,258 km gas pipelines bid out by the PNGRB, by suitably incentivising pipeline companies with better tariff mechanism, assured throughput and Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support, as per the specific situation. It also suggested that for streamlining the demand in the industrial sector, the cross-subsidy in the power sector must be substantially reduced so that industry may receive electricity at competitive prices.
It made a case for continuing reform to reduce the price differential between diesel and petrol.