The northeastern states of Assam and Meghalaya are the frontrunners for the Union Power Ministry’s reforms-based and results-linked, Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS). The scheme’s objective is to improve the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of state-owned Discoms by providing financial assistance to them for modernisation and strengthening of distribution infrastructure.

“This time, two of the North-Eastern states have shown exemplary initiative in plan formulation for turning around their power sector. Also, several other states are also in advanced stages of submission of their proposals under the scheme,” the Power Ministry said in a statement.

Thirty-nine out of 55 beneficiary Discoms (Nodal Agencies REC and PFC) have already submitted their draft proposals and are in active discussions with Nodal Agencies for their finalisation, while the balance Discoms are also expected to send their proposals shortly, it added.

Given the current state of operational and financial losses of Discoms in the country and to provide a much-needed fillip to the power sector as well as the overall economy in the pandemic affected year, multiple meetings and workshops with Discoms have been conducted to assess their level of preparedness for taking benefits under the scheme by the Ministry of Power and nodal agencies. The meetings were chaired by Power Minister R. K. Singh.

Key interventions under this scheme include providing support to Discoms to undertake activities for ensuring 100 per cent system metering, implementing prepaid smart metering, energy accounting, and implementing infrastructure works for loss reduction.

Besides, segregation of feeders dedicated only to supply power for agricultural purposes, which are proposed to be solarised under the PM-KUSUM scheme, will be sanctioned on priority under the scheme. Along with their proposals, Discoms will also need to submit an Action plan for strengthening their distribution system and improving performance through various reform measures targeting improvement in operational efficiency, financial viability and quality and reliability of power supply, the ministry said.