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Telangana CM writes to Modi over State’s opposition to Draft Electricity Bill

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on June 03, 2020 Published on June 03, 2020

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has made a request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting the State’s concerns over the proposed Draft Electricity Bill.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister late on Tuesday — which was also Telangana State Formation Day — the Chief Minister requested the Centre to withdraw the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act, as he felt that this was against the interest of State’s and the federal set-up.

The State Chief Minister, who has been expressing concern about the Bill, opined that the proposal of the Centre to bring in Amendments to the Electricity Act (Draft Electricity Bill Amendment Act 2020) would have an adverse impact on the management of the State electricity utilities.

State authority

KCR said the proposed changes planned in the Bill would take away some powers of the States. These include the State’s power to appoint State-level regulatory commissioners. While the electricity sector comes under the Concurrent List, the Chief Minister said the Centre cannot unilaterally bring about changes which directly curtail the powers of the State in managing the power sector.

In the backdrop of the Centre asking the States to express their opinion on the proposed Draft Electricity Bill Amendment Act 2020, the Chief Minister expressed the State’s apprehensions.

KCR joins several other States who are opposed to the Bill, particularly when it comes to extending subsidies to the agriculture and other sectors.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami was among those who wrote to the Prime Minister expressing State’s views on its reservations and concerns with regard to the proposed amendments.

Power subsidy

Telangana has concerns over how the subsidies that are extended to consumers. The provision for direct benefit transfer, removing the power to appoint commissioners etc, are all seen as curtailment of the power of the States to decide. The move to curb subsidies is seen as a major hit for the State, as it removes the authority to subsidise power to the agriculture sector, some sections of domestic consumers and those below the poverty line.

Telangana is one of the States providing 24x7 free power to the farmers. The Amendment is seen to directly have a bearing on how the State extends such a facility, and going against the State’s authority to decide such a subsidy.

KCR mentioned that each State power generation profile varies, and the cost of generation of Central stations such as NTPC and NHPC would be less but may get priority in merit order despatch. This could cause loss to the State utilities. In addition, the open access could be detrimental to the interest of States, he stated.

Telangana wants the Centre to withdraw the bill.

Published on June 03, 2020
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