States

Minister reiterates 100 units free power to residential consumers

Costly move: Supplying free power of 100 units is expected to cost the exchequer around ₹8,000 crore.  

Energy Minister Nitin Raut in the Council on Tuesday reiterated that the government would give free electricity up to 100 units to residential consumers and that a committee had been formed to look into its feasibility.

Mr. Raut, who is from the Congress, had in February made this announcement. He had also directed his department to consider supplying power to farmers in the day, and the department was asked to submit a report within three months.

State Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat had also at that time said that the department had been asked to check the feasibility of the move.

However, this was opposed by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar who also holds the finance portfolio. Mr. Pawar had said that people should not be given the habit of getting freebies.

NCP member Prakash Gajbhiye on Tuesday moved a calling attention motion on why Maharashtra had the costliest power tariff in the country.

Responding to this, Mr. Raut said, “It is true that Maharashtra has the costliest electricity tariff but there are technical reasons for that. I have already directed my department to check if free power up to 100 units can be given. Once that report comes in, we will definitely try to give this benefit to the people.”

Giving free power of 100 units is expected to cost the exchequer around ₹8,000 crore as there are around one crore users in the slab. With the State facing a fund crunch, and implementing a farm loan waiver, the announcement was questioned.

BJP member Parinay Fuke pointed out the perils of supplying power to farms only at night, which is the practice currently.

The Energy Minister said, “I have asked my department if we can give power supply to farmers for four hours in the day. That analysis will also be part of this report. But we need to inculcate the habit among farmers to pay power bills.”

However, he said, farmers could not be given free electricity and instead the State had a programme to distribute solar lamps to farmers.

The policy will also look into bringing down the cost of power generation and measures to cut the power sector’s losses.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 6:55:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/minister-reiterates-100-units-free-power-to-residential-consumers/article30976841.ece

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