Power sector reforms
This refers to ‘Time to unshackle power distribution’ (November 2). The article is timely given the recent coal supply crisis in the country. The coming Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021 could breathe fresh air into the power distribution sector. State/private monopolies must give way for more efficient and customer-centric power distribution. Indiscriminate giveaways and doles of free power may now be checked by Direct Benefit Transfer to only deserving sections. Prohibitively high tariffs for industrial consumers to cross-subsidise undeserving subsidies must go.
The freedom to choose a distributor is a crucial part of the proposed new Bill. Such choice must also be dynamic. As in mobile phone prepaid services, the consumer must be able to buy his/her requirement from any operator by paying upfront and change the source at will. These will help power the nation to a $5 trillion economy.
Along expected lines, India took a decision to defer its commitment to net-zero carbon emission by 2070 at the UN climate summit at Glasgow. However, true to its standing as a responsible nation with global ambitions, the country had pledged to a one-billion tonne reduction in its total projected emissions from now until 2030 along with concerted steps to ensure 50 per cent electricity generation comes from renewable energy sources .
No doubt, it marks a momentous step-up in the country’s existing climate targets. While it is not a direct emission target, the reduction marks a significant step forward towards bending India’s emission trajectory. With India now demonstrating its climate leadership through its realistic climate targets, developed countries have to shed their business-as-usual approach and walk the talk on their promises regarding climate finance and transferring green technologies to the developing and third world.
The arrest of a former chairman of the SBI on charges of a loan scam must come as a terrible shock to the entire banking sector. All the top executives will now be more disinclined to sanction loans as they could be accused of conspiring to defraud the banks if the loans fail to be repaid. It’s one thing if there is a deliberate attempt to defraud the bank and another that loans sometimes go bad due to business risks.
If bank officials are not rewarded for taking good decisions, why should they be penalised for taking bad decisions? At this rate, many would avoid taking any decision which is what is happening in many banks.
This refers to ‘Just reward’ (November 2). Shaktikanta Das seems to have certain advantages which have helped him succeed as RBI Governor. Having functioned as Secretary in the Finance Ministry he knows the leadership style of the current government at the Centre and also about the need for a good understanding with the RBI. This has enabled him to develop a consensus-based relationship between the government and the RBI.
Secondly, temperament-wise, he is comparatively cool and patient compared with some of his predecessors. Also, he has refrained from making political statements or questioning the policies of the government through the media.
This has reference to ‘Pepper gains on fears of crop damage in Karnataka’ (November 2). While this may cheer traders, the plight of growers remains unabated. Beginning 2018, the coffee growing region has been at the receiving end on weather issues. With Arabica coffee harvest in progress, and robusta and pepper to follow, incessant rains and even cloudy weather can affect output. The State government must take proactive steps to re-introduce incentive-backed mechanisation to help small and marginal farmers.
Halekere Village, Karnataka
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