Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut on Wednesday asked the Centre to withdraw its proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020, saying it “clearly violates” the constitutional mandate and undermines its federal structure.
Expressing his reservations over the proposed amendments in the EA Act 2003, the Congress leader said, “The Centre intends to override and dominate the state government’s responsibility in the administration of power generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.”
On April 17, the Centre had proposed a draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that recommended establishment of an Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority, adequate security payment mechanism, doing away with multiple selection committees for selection of commission chairman and members, making a mandatory minimum purchase of power from renewable sources of energy. It also made penalty stringent for non-compliance with the provisions in the EA Act.
Through the reforms, Raut claimed, the Centre was trying to take control of the state energy sector and open doors for private players, which was detrimental for the people. “…the central government, with an intention to centralise the power in its hand, proposed the amendment which makes states weaker in the matters related to the power sector as the subject is now in the concurrent list and provides equal opportunities to both Centre and state,” Raut said.
The Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India provides the powers to both central and state governments to make appropriate laws on the matters related to electricity.
Raut said the Centre was trying to privatise distribution, transmission and generation. Maintaining that the intent should be towards decentralization of power for transparency and efficiency, he said the existing provisions empowering state governments as well as state commission to take appropriate decisions/ make rules and regulations after considering the state-specific issues need to be continued.