India’s power sector on cusp of change

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As it is essential to the functioning of most important technological systems, it should come as no surprise that electricRavi Gupta supply is often viewed as an essential public good. During the last decade, the government has initiated a series of reforms to address the issue of power shortages. Today the Indian power industry stands on the threshold of de-regulation after having completed a phased move in that direction for so many years.

However, despite the reform measures, the power sector remains stymied by problems. Recently we had a massive power outage across the country due to grid failure. More than 600 million people were out of power for many hours. According to reports, the power failure occurred because some states overdrew power from the grid. If we had a Smart Grid system in the country, this kind of grid failure due to overdrawing could have been avoided.

The skewed tariff structure often leads to unsustainable cross subsidies by the central and state governments. The T&D (Transmission & Distribution) losses, largely due to poor infrastructure, outright theft and instances of unmetered supply continue to bleed the power sector. It was in 2001 that the government launched the Accelerated Power Development & Reform Programme (APDRP), for strengthening the transmission and distribution related networks, and in July 2008, the APDRP was restructured and launched as a central sector scheme for Eleventh Five Year Plan.

Meanwhile the flip side of rapid economic growth is that it only adds to the burden on power infrastructure. Power deficit is one of the factors that could severely impede India’s economic growth. The policy makers in the country recognise this, and concerted efforts are being made to accelerate infrastructure development. India’s power consumption is likely to cross 300 GW during the next ten years. Meeting this demand will require a seven to ten fold increase in current power generation, transmission and distribution capabilities.
In this issue of eGov we have interacted with a range of important stakeholders in the power space. In an exclusive interview to eGov, Haroon Yusuf, Delhi’s Minister of Power, explains the plans that the Delhi government has to ensure round the clock availability of optimally priced power to the citizens. We have interactions with Tarun Kapoor, Director, National Solar Mission; Arup Roy Choudhury, CMD, NTPC Ltd; and many others.
We have carried out interactions with the leaders of top private companies– Tata Power, Reliance, GE, IBM, Accenture, Applied Materials, Franco Tosi Meccanica, Essar, etc. Other than the power sector, we are also featuring articles on other aspects of deployment of ICT for bringing e-Governance. Madhusudan Padhi, Commissioner & Secretary, Department of IT, Government of Odisha, has contributed an article on the deployment of online education in the state of Odisha. Neeta Verma, Country Lead, Data Portal of India, Head, data centre & web services, National Informatics Centre, DeitY, has written on the subject of Open Government Data and its implications for India.
In addition to this, there are the usual array of regular features. As always I look forward to having your feedback.

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