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India won’t import equipment from China, says Union Power Minister R.K. Singh

Union Power Minister R.K. Singh addresses a virtual conference with Power Ministers of States and UTs on July 3, 2020. Photo: Twitter/@OfficeOfRKSingh

Union Power Minister R.K. Singh addresses a virtual conference with Power Ministers of States and UTs on July 3, 2020. Photo: Twitter/@OfficeOfRKSingh  

Union Power Minister R.K. Singh on Friday said India will not import power equipment from China, saying the sector, being strategic and essential, was vulnerable to cyberattacks.

At a virtual conference with the States, the Minister said equipment imports from China and Pakistan would not be permitted.

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The State power distribution companies should not place orders with Chinese firms for equipment.

Highlighting the need for self-reliance in the sector, Mr. Singh said the country’s power equipment import bill was about ₹71,000 crore during 2018-19, including purchases worth over ₹20,000 crore from China, even when the country had manufacturing facilities.

As the sector was vulnerable to cyberattacks, Mr. Singh said, the imported equipment would be checked for any malware like Trojan.

The Minister said a lot had been achieved in the power sector, including capacity addition of 15,000 MW a year since 2014, and connecting the entire nation through one grid. India’s grid system was one of the best, as demonstrated during the light-out event on April 5 when the grid handled the steepest fall and climb in demand in a short span of time, he said. A major challenge, he added, was to make the distribution companies viable and the country self-reliant in equipment manufacture.

Mr. Singh said ₹90,000 crore for the distribution companies was being given under a package announced by the Centre to meet the losses incurred till March 31. Against the demand for ₹93,000 crore from the States and the Union Territories, ₹20,000 crore had been approved, and the rest was being processed expeditiously, he said.

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Speaking to the media through video-conference, the Minister said the request for extending the Centre’s package to cover the losses up to June would be considered. A new scheme would soon be announced after merging the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS). The Centre’s funding to the States was being made conditional in the new scheme.

The States and the Union Territories whose distribution companies were not in the red would have no problem getting the funds, but the others would have to give a recovery plan, he said.

Congratulating officials on their commendable work during the lockdown, Mr. Singh said the country achieved a capacity 3.7 lakh MW in generation against a demand of 1.85 lakh MW. “We are also supplying power to many countries,” he said.

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In the second session, issues related to new and renewable energy were taken up. The Minister said the government was planning to launch a variant of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM), under which the feeder to the agriculture sector would be solarised.

(With agency inputs)

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 8:12:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-wont-import-equipment-from-china-says-union-power-minister-rk-singh/article31984313.ece

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