New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee today said the energy shortage in the country has come down to 2.3 per cent from the earlier 4 per cent since the new government assumed office in May 2014.
In his address to the joint sitting of Parliament, the President said the government is committed to providing electricity to all the census villages by May 2018.
"Since the government assumed office, energy shortages have been reduced from 4 per cent to 2.3 per cent," he said.
The government, Mukherjee said, has launched the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) for financial turnaround of power distribution companies of states and Union Territories.
Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have formally joined the UDAY scheme, which is meant for revival of debt-ridden power distribution utilities.
"Eighty-three per cent of the capacity addition target of 88,537 MW for 12th Plan period has already been achieved," the President said.
He further said the government has introduced critical amendments in the tariff policy for ensuring availability of electricity to consumers at reasonable and competitive rates.
The government, he said, has focused on commissioning major transmission projects for reducing congestion in transmission.
"I am happy to share that available transfer capacity for South India has increased by 71 per cent from May 2014 to December 2015. This has resulted in cheaper and abundant power in South India, finally moving towards the goal of One Nation, One Grid, One Price," Mukherjee said.
The President told the lawmakers that to revive gas-based power generation capacity, the government implemented a new initiative of supply of refined LNG.
This has ensured revival of stranded gas plants with installed capacity of 11,717 mw, he said, adding that in 2015, India saw the highest-ever generation of electricity.
The President further said two ambitious National LED Programmes have been launched for cities for street lighting and domestic lighting.
"Through a bulk procurement strategy, the cost of LED bulb has been brought down from Rs 310 in January 2014 to Rs 64 in January 2015," Mukherjee said.
On the coal sector, the President said the government has introduced dynamic and comprehensive reforms and conducted transparent auction/allocation of over 70 coal blocks.
These, he said, will immensely benefit the eastern states in years to come.
"Strong emphasis on increasing coal production has resulted in a record 9.8 per cent growth in CIL's coal production and highest-ever output of coal. This has also led to reduced imports of coal," Mukherjee said.