The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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More say for states likely in power recast

New Delhi, Dec. 22: The Parliamentary standing committee on power has envisaged a bigger role for state governments in implementing policy decisions taken by the Centre.

The 45-member panel headed by Santosh Mohan Dev has recommended that the national electricity policy and plan should contain only broad parameters, leaving state governments to work out the minute details, keeping in view their ground realities.

“At present, state governments have a major role to play in the field of electricity. As much as 60 per cent of generation and almost 100 per cent of transmission and distribution happens to be within the domain of state governments. In such a scenario, the role played by states could not under any stretch of imagination be relegated,” the report said.

“While we were examining the Electricity Bill, views expressed by various states convinced us that it was not only necessary to give them more executive powers but also to tune the policy according to their needs and demands,” Dev said explaining the rationale behind offering more powers to states.

The panel also suggested giving more powers to states to decide the details of a central power policy since different states were at different stages of the reform process.

“The law ministry had pointed out that though the power sector was on the concurrent list there cannot be two different sets of policies. But we felt that smaller states would not be able to implement many policy decisions. A national electricity policy and plan should contain only broad parameters, leaving state governments to work out minute details,” Dev added.

The standing committee has also suggested setting up a time frame to phase out power subsidies that could be decided by the respective state governments in concurrence with the state electricity regulatory commission. It has also suggested that the state governments should be allowed to review the position regarding continuation of SEBs to watch their performance and decide future course of action regarding restructuring of state electricity boards.

“The committee felt the present Bill had been brought forward to take measures conducive to development of the electricity sector. For this the active co-operation of states was a pre-requisite,” the report said.

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