While the nationwide lockdown hampered economic activities and caused a dip in power usage as well, the demand for energy will boom in coming months as economic activities start with full force. “Any apprehension that that demand will go down just no longer holds water as of now. I will say (the demand) will increase because the economy has not started full tilt as yet, and when it (does) … we are bound to grow,” Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh told The Indian Express in an interview. Further, the government will continue to push for Make in India in ramping up its renewable energy capacity despite it meaning a slowdown, if any, in adding to the country’s renewable capacity, he added. Meanwhile, the government is clear on its agenda to build power capacity and expects that it will not merely meet its target but also exceed it. “We believe that we have to switch over to renewables and we will not only meet our commitment, we will exceed it,” RK Singh said.
Expressing confidence in the power sector’s revival, RK Singh said that the power consumption has gone up in 2020 despite coronavirus pandemic and shutdowns in activities. “We are already where we were (last year), despite the fact that we know all industries have not opened fully and, despite the fact that, in many parts of the country, there are still restrictions,” he said. In fact, it is expected that the pent up demand will release itself in coming months and the power consumption will grow again at the same rate as it was growing, if not faster.
Regarding the government’s plans to notify a basic customs duty on solar equipment in addition to ongoing safeguard duties and the impact that it will have on solar addition, RK Singh said that the government is clear on pushing Make in India regardless of whether there may be a slowdown because of Atmanirbhar Bharat or Make in India. “We believe that it is important. It’s absolutely important and necessary that if we have the demand, we create jobs here, and (not) in other countries,” he said. The BJP-led government has increased its pitch for making India self-reliant amid prevalent anti-China sentiments. The government has also identified several sectors such as electronics, textiles, etc where India has abilities to boost exports and ramp up domestic production.