Two years on, here’s the report card of Modi army’s lieutenant Piyush Goyal
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Indian government will complete two years in office on May 26. Modi and his army of ministers had their share of praises and criticism in these two years and their performances were also analysed at every step with an eagle's eye. We also analysed the performance of Modi's lieutenants in the Cabinet and we begin with India's Power Minister Piyush Goyal. Goyal initiated many path-breaking initiatives in all the three sectors-power, coal and renewable energy.
He has been working on keeping his word on 'power for all', at a time when millions of Indians had given up on the idea of having adequate power supply and most industries had switched to high cost diesel generated power for uneven power supply. The reforms he brought under his leadership in the ministry was noticed by international rating agencies such as Standard & Poor's and also the funding majors like World Bank, ADB, IFC-who have time and again cited lack of reforms in these sectors as one of the major bottlenecks in India's growth story. "We have a long journey ahead of us. I do hope that in these two years, we have been able to create a structural frame work where people have hope and confidence that things can be done honestly, things can be done with a great degree of participation and cooperation amongst difference sections of all the stakeholders," said Goyal.
Presently, under 'one nation, one grid, one frequency', the Available Transfer Capacity (ATC) of southern Indian states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Puducherry has increased by 71% to 5,900 MW from 3,450 MW in 2013-14. "Transmission has gone up remarkably by 71% in only 18 months and most of the southern region today is power surplus-- from an era when they used to buy power at as high as Rs 16-Rs 18 a unit to reaching a point when they do not have to pay more than Rs 4-5 now. Usually, power is available under Rs 3 and with the launch of Vidyut Pravah," Goyal said. After Goyal assumed charge, he accepted the challenge of turning around a sector that was symbolic of the impact of decades of inefficient bureaucracy coupled with visionless policies.
Areas like energy efficiency have never been so popular in India. Today, India is running the world's largest energy efficiency programme and on a recent visit to the US and UK, the two nations actually took energy efficiency lessons from India. Also, one of the biggest achievements of Goyal-led ministry has been the introduction of UDAY or Ujwal to light up the power sector. UDAY is an answer to pull the state distribution companies out of their financial and operational inefficiencies. "I think efficiency gains in terms of UDAY, where we are talking about Rs 1,80,000 crore savings per year, when all states come on board, which I am quite sure of, all these gains will be enough to take care of the existing requirements of the discoms. I think we will have to perk up our acts, we will have to be efficient across states and the political pressure of people demanding better quality service and affordable power will make sure that (hopefully) we don't have to increase tariffs," said Goyal.
Goyal's other focus area has been renewable energy. From just 3000 MW solar power generation since independence, he set an ambitious target of setting up 1,00,000 MW, or 100 GW, of solar capacity within five years and by 2019. In 2015-16, the largest ever wind capacity addition of 3,300 MW was achieved. There has been a 157% increase in solar capacity since 2014 of 4,132 MW. Solar projects of capacity 20,904 MW were tendered in 2015-16 of which, projects of 11,209 MW have already been awarded. 32 Solar Parks of 19,400 MW capacity have been sanctioned in 20 states. Coal is the mainstay of India's energy needs. The crisis arising from the cancellation of 204 coal blocks by the Supreme Court was answered with a fair and transparent auction and allocation process which, is estimated to bring in potential revenue for coal bearing states of about Rs 3.44 lakh crore over the lifetime of 74 mines.
Electricity generation has also picked up, almost matching demand. Energy deficit during the current year has been reduced to its lowest level ever of 2.1% from 11.1% in 2008-09. Similarly, peak shortage has been reduced from 11.9% in 2008-09 to 3.2%, again, the lowest ever. Thermal electricity generation grew at 7.4% in 2015-16 with a strong performance in March of 15.9% y-o-y. To sustain this growth the highest ever capacity addition of 46,738 MW in conventional power has been attained in 2014-16, accounting for around a fifth of our current conventional capacity. "All the above extraordinary results have been made possible by the joint efforts of Team India and the unprecedented stress on transparency and accountability in governance. With our Government's initiatives and the support of 125 crore Indians we will soon be successful in illuminating the life of every Indian thus creating an Ujwal Bharat," said Goyal.