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Home News Power Sector News Congress to oppose electricity bill ammendment, calls it anti-poor

Congress to oppose electricity bill ammendment, calls it anti-poor

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ParliamentCongress has dubbed the electricity amendment bill 2014 as "anti-poor", stating that its provisions would leave rural and lower middle-class consumers at the mercy of loss-making state agencies for power supply.

Party MPs Deepender Hooda, Oscar Fernandes, Viplove Thakur and R Anand Bhaskar have filed a dissent note against the bill in the standing committee.

According to sources, the move indicates that Congress would oppose the bill in Parliament, possibly creating problems for the government in Rajya Sabha where it lacks majority. It would block another reform measure of the Modi government after the land acquisition bill.

The electricity bill seeks to hand over supply and distribution network to separate companies through private competition.

Bringing it under its attack theme of "anti-poor, anti-farmer" against Modi government, Congress has argued that the changes would have the suppliers prefer servicing high-value customers in commercially viable areas for higher profits.

The dissent note said the new system would prompt "cherry picking without social obligations" and sideline the poor.

"The presence of large number of suppliers... would lead them to categorize electricity consumers into 'priority' and 'non-priority' or 'subsidized' category. There would be limited electricity penetration in poorer, agrarian areas of our country which in turn would mean that people in rural areas, like our farmers and the poor, would end up bearing the brunt of this skewed policy," the party argued.

Congress said that shunned by private companies, the common consumer would be left at the mercy of loss-making government utilities and would face power shortage.

The party said the bill was silent on how could state would provide subsidies to vulnerable sections in a free market with private competitors, implying that such a provision would be opposed by private players as skewing the competition.

Panning the ushering in of free market, Congress said true competition was only possible in a situation of surplus energy and not power scarcity as in India.

Source- TOI


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