Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced that the government will soon put in place a framework to allow electricity consumers choose service providers or discoms. At present, a large number of power distribution utilities (discoms) across the country are state-owned. They are unable to ensure 24-hour 'power for all' as envisaged by the central government because they are cash strapped.
"Discoms are monopolies. There is a need to provide a choice to customers to choose a service provider (distribution company). A framework will be put in place to provide an alternative," said Sitharaman in her Budget speech in the Lok Sabha.
She also highlighted the financial stress in the discoms.
Total outstanding dues of the discoms toward power generating firms stood at over Rs 1.35 lakh crore as of December 2020.
She also said that during the last six years, 139 GW of power generation capacity has been added and 2.8 crore households were provided electricity connection.
She also noted that 1.41 lakh circuit kilometres of power transmission lines were added in the last six years.
She also announced the proposal to launch a hydrogen energy mission next fiscal for generating hydrogen from green power sources.
Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021-22 on Monday, which was approved by the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier today.
Sitharaman, who had in her first budget in 2019 replaced leather briefcase that had been for decades used for carrying budget documents with a traditional red cloth 'bahi-khata', had earlier this month stated that the budget for the fiscal year beginning April will be "like never before".
It has to be a vision statement, a roadmap to get the world's fastest-growing major economy back on track.