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11 states including Punjab oppose Electricity Amendment Bill -AIPEF

PUNJAB NEW EXPRESS | July 09, 2020 03:23 PM

CHANDIGARH: 11 states and one union territory  have  strongly opposed many clauses of  draft Electricity  (Amendment) Bill 2020 during a virtual  discussion in power ministers meet and demanded to put it on hold, said V K Gupta a spokesperson  of All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF).  

The proposals in the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 to usher so-called  reforms in  the power sector threaten to violate long-cherished
principles of federalism said all the non-BJP states in one voice. The states are Kerala, Telangana, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh,   West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan  & Punjab. The UT is Puducherry,

In Punjab  the two major parties Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) the oldest partner of NDA has raised a voice on federal relations
cutting across their political rivalry, said V K Gupta.

Punjab has objected to the proposal of doing away with free power to farmers and replacing it with the direct benefit scheme. It also opposed the proposal of one selection committee for regulatory commissions as all the appointments would be made by the central government.

Shiromani Akali Dal  has demanded the withdrawal of Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020. The proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill,
2020 had become a cause of public concern because it impinged on the right of the states and was against the basic principle of federalism as enshrined in the Constitution.

Maharashtra Energy Minister claimed that the bill was violative of the constitutional mandate and undermined the federal structure. The union government is looking into giving back door entry to private entities into the power sector by amending the Electricity Act 2003.
Bihar energy Minister said that since power is in the concurrent list the states' consent is required before making any amendment regarding policy matters. Bihar is not in favor of the privatization of power distribution companies. Different states have their own policies depending upon their social and economic conditions.

The Congress government in Rajasthan has termed the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020  against the spirit of the Constitution and
contradictory to the decentralization of power for States  in view of its emphasis on the center’s control of the power sector despite its inclusion  in the concurrent list.

Tamilnadu has opposed the provisions of the direct benefit transfer scheme (DBT), privatization/franchise, and renewal purchase obligation.
The state Chief Minister has claimed that allowing private franchisees in the power sector will lead to cherry-picking. He also said that the free power supplied to the agriculture sector and households should not be brought under the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme.
 Kerala said that the privatization of the power sector will not be their agenda.

The proposal of DBT is detrimental to poor consumers. Paying bills in advance will not be possible for many consumers.

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