Chinese imports, UDAY-2 top on agenda of state power ministers’ meet on Friday

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Updated: Jul 02, 2020 7:02 PM

The scheme envisaged financial turnaround, operational improvement, reduction of cost of generation of power, development of renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation.

Union Power Minister R K Singh will discuss with his state counterparts a range of issues, including Chinese imports and UDAY scheme, during a meeting called on Friday.  The meeting, which is organised almost every year to discuss key issues pertaining to the power sector, will take stock of the progress made by states on central schemes.

The meeting, to be held virtually this year, assumes more significance as it is being organised at a time when there is a growing clamour for boycott of Chinese goods. It must be noted that there is a significant volume of imports of power sector equipment from China.  “Import of power and renewable energy equipment particularly solar is a key issue which is listed on the agenda for discussion in the energy ministers meet on Friday,” a source said.

Last week, Power Minister Singh in an interview to PTI had raised concerns about security threat from Chinese equipment. Singh said that India will check all power equipment bought from China for malware and Trojan horses that can be potentially used to trigger electricity grid failures to cripple economic activity in the country.

India has put in place stringent quality control measures and planned higher tariffs on goods from China to boost domestic manufacturing, the minister said.”We have reports that malware and Trojan horse can be installed which can be activated remotely to bring down the power sector and the economy,” he said.

“So we have decided, because it is a sensitive sector, whatever equipment are made in India, we will purchase them. And those that are not made in India, we will import but check thoroughly to rule out the presence of any malware or Trojan horse,” Singh had said.

India’s power sector had faced cyberattacks, a majority of which reportedly originated from China, Singapore, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. Singh had also said that a committee was set up under the Central Electricity Authority to examine the cyber threat and the panel had said “it is a real live threat.”
During Friday meeting, the new version of UDAY scheme for revival of discoms would also be discussed. The Centre had launched Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in November, 2015.

The scheme envisaged financial turnaround, operational improvement, reduction of cost of generation of power, development of renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation. The other issue to come up for discussion on Friday is Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020 which was circulated for feedback in April this year.

It drew flak from some corners with claims that it would infringe upon the rights of states, encourage privatisation and would not be in interest of consumers. However dismissing these claims, Singh had said last week that these are canards and reforms in power sector is the last challenge left. The meeting would also discuss about the Renwable Purchase Obligation (RPO) for clean energy. The performance of Rs 90,000 crore liquidity infusion package would also be taken up in the meeting.

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