Chinese imports, UDAY-2 to be taken up during state power ministers’ meet on Friday

PTI New Delhi | Updated on July 02, 2020

Union Power Minister R. K. Singh will discuss a range of issues, including Chinese imports and the UDAY scheme, during a meeting with his state counterparts on Friday. The meeting, which is organised almost every year to discuss key issues pertaining to the power sector, will take stock of the progress made by states on central schemes.

The meeting, to be held virtually this year, assumes significance as it is being organised at a time when there is a growing clamour for boycott of Chinese goods. A significant volume of imports of power sector equipment is from China.

“Import of power and renewable energy equipment, particularly solar, is a key issue which is listed on the agenda for discussion in the energy ministers’ meet on Friday,” a source said.

In an interview last week, Power Minister Singh had raised concerns about the security threat from Chinese equipment.

Singh said India would check all power equipment bought from China for malware and Trojan horses that could be used to trigger electricity grid failures, to cripple economic activity in the country.

India has put in place stringent quality control measures and planned higher tariffs on goods from China to boost domestic manufacturing, the minister said.

“We have received reports that malware and Trojan horses can be activated remotely to bring down the power sector and the economy,” he said.

“So we have decided, because it is a sensitive sector, we will purchase equipment made in India. And equipment not made in India will be imported, but checked thoroughly to rule out the presence of any malware or Trojan horse,” Singh had said.

India’s power sector had faced cyberattacks, a majority of which reportedly originated from China, Singapore, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.

Singh also said a committee was set up under the Central Electricity Authority to examine the cyber threat and the panel had said “it is a real live threat.”

UDAY schemes

The meeting would also discuss the new version of the UDAY scheme for revival of discoms.

The Centre had launched the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in November 2015.

The scheme envisaged financial turnaround, operational improvement, reduction of cost of generation of power, development of renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation.

The other issue to come up for discussion on Friday is the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020 which was circulated for feedback in April this year.

It drew flak from some corners, with claims that it would infringe upon the rights of states, encourage privatisation and would not be in the interest of consumers.

However, Singh dismissed these claims, and said reforms in the power sector is the last challenge left.

The meeting would also discuss the Renwable Purchase Obligation (RPO) for clean energy.

The performance of the Rs 90,0000-crore liquidity infusion package would also be taken up in the meeting.

Published on July 02, 2020

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