Issues with Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021

Fundamental Differences in Perspective-1

• Government of India is treating Electricity as commodity.
• Electricity Employees and Engineers are treating electricity as service i.e. the Electricity Connection is being termed as Service Connection and so is the intent behind it.
• Electricity Sector is the axis and necessary for all other sectors functioning and development.

Fundamental Differences in Perspective-2
• Electricity is a need not a luxury.
• It must be enshrined as Fundamental Right.
• Electricity consumption is undoubtedly one of the major parameters which define the speed of growth and development of any State & Country.

Consumption Status India vs World

India vs Other Countries (IEA – 2019 Report)
• China -5,537 TWh, USA -3,738 TWh, India-1164 TWh, Japan- 964 TWh, Russia-761TWh
• Korea-523 TWh, Germany-519 TWh, Canada- 509 TWh, Brazil- 499 TWh, France-437 TWh
• China uses five times more electricity than India while having no significant gap in population.
• USA uses three times more electricity than India while having only 25 percent of population of India.

Unilateral Push of This Bill Amidst Covid-19 – 1
• “The Electricity Bill, 2001 has been finalized after extensive discussions and consultation with the States and all the stake holders and experts”- A Statement of Existing Electricity Act-2003.
• For the Electricity Amendment Bill – 2021, the tried and tested route of extensive consultation with all the stakeholders in democracy is not being followed by the Union Government.

Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Claimed objective: To give choice to consumer to select electricity distributor/supplier to get cheaper electricity and better service by promoting competition.

Another provision of Bill
• State discoms (distribution companies) are bounded to provide their distribution infrastructure for use of private distributor.
• New clause: Sub Section 4 A in section 42 “A distribution company shall provide non-discriminatory access through its distribution system to all distribution companies registered within the same area of suppl.

Multi Sectoral Impacts

The track record of the private players in electricity generation is a story of mismanagement resulting in
huge losses for the banks and the bad loans of the power sector increased manifolds in last few years.
• The public money is being looted through organised structures of policies which eventually facilitating the pumping of public money to the Big Business houses of the Country.

Electric supply is an Essential Service
• In the 21st century, electricity is one of the basic needs of every human being without which it is impossible to imagine life.
• Now Government wants to completely washing its hands off from the social responsibility of providing a basic necessity to all by privatizing electricity distribution.
• Private profit cannot be the objective for a basic necessity.
• India is a vast and diverse country ,so one size fits all can not work in terms of Electricity Sector owing to state wise advantages, challenges and consumer mix etc.

Concurrent Status of Electricity
• The electricity is in the 7 th Schedule of Constitution but the Central Government wants decisive power in the matter of electricity through this bill which is not good for federal structure of country.
• Electricity is a concurrent subject – both centre and state have the rights.

• States will have no power to decide in regard toprivatisation of distribution.
• States had not been consulted while drafting the Bill.

Conclusion
Electricity Amendment Bill 2021 is
• Anti-worker: Jobs of 15 lakh permanent and around 12 lakh contract workers will be in danger;
• Anti-people: Increased rate, inflated bill, poor service to villages and remote areas. Many people will be denied access to electricity;
• Anti-social: Destruction and sale of lakhs of crore rupee assets built with people’s money and future employment aspects in Government sector.

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