As the government tries to fight problems arising out of the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 21 named Union minister Piyush Goyal to a two-member ministerial committee set up to identify areas which need a boost to promote cashless transactions in the country. Goyal, who has emerged as one of the ministers the Modi government frequently turns to in crisis situations, will be the guest at the Express Adda on Sunday. Holding the important portfolio of Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, Goyal has begun work on a framework for India’s transition to a cashless economy, along with Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
A chartered accountant and a former treasurer of the BJP, Goyal is seen in his party as bridging the divide between the financial hub of Mumbai and the power capital of Delhi. He is believed to have the Prime Minister and BJP president Amit Shah’s ears.
As part of his portfolio, Goyal is working on providing electricity to all villages in the country by May 2017 — a year before the 1,000-day deadline set by the Modi government. He has said he wants to increase the country’s overall renewable capacity by more than five times, to 175 GW, by 2022.
Under him, the power and coal sectors have seen the launch of the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), which aims to turn around loss-laden distribution utilities through efficiency improvements. He is also overseeing the auction of coal blocks that were cancelled by the Supreme Court in 2014.
Goyal is personally involved in pushing an ambitious LED distribution scheme too, under which more than nine crore LED bulbs were distributed in 2015-16.
The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features people at the centre of change. In the past, it has hosted actors Shah Rukh Khan and Kangana Ranaut, economist Amartya Sen, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, former finance minister P Chidambaram, and cricketers such as Rohit Sharma.