In a move to improve India’s connectivity infrastructure, the government in its second term plans to build a model of ‘One Nation, One Grid’ to ensure availability of power to states at ‘affordable’ rates. “I propose to make available a blueprint this year for developing gas grids, water grids, i-ways, and regional airports,” said finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech Friday.
The government is also examining the performance of its Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), aimed at financial and operational turnaround of power distribution companies. DISCOM losses increased 43 per cent to over Rs 21,500 crore at the end of the 2018-19 financial year. “We will work with the state governments to remove barriers like cross subsidy surcharges, undesirable duties on open access sales or captive generation for industrial and other bulk power consumers,” said Sitharaman. “A package of power sector tariff and structural reforms would soon be announced.” In its last tenure, the government pushed two ‘mega’ initiatives—Ujjwala Yojana and Saubhagya Yojana—to provide below poverty line households with access to LPG gas and electricity.