In a move which indicates the fluid political scenario in the Capital, the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre has reintroduced partial subsidy for about 70 per cent power consumers in the Delhi Budget. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced allocation of Rs.260 crore for power subsidy. The consumers would get Rs.1.20 per unit relief on consumption of up to 200 units and Rs.0.80 per unit relief for the next 200 units.
The move comes a day after the power regulator, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), had approved a tariff hike of 8.32 per cent for the city's three discoms -- BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited.
The subsidy is on the lines of the relief provided by the Sheila Dikshit Government, a fact which has allowed the Congress to boast about its model of governance, which according to party leader Haroon Yusuf was being "copied by the BJP".
Referring to the tariff hike approved by the DERC, Mr. Jaitley said it was necessitated due to increase in input costs. "However, the poor and marginalised should not suffer," he said while presenting the Delhi Budget.
"I, therefore, propose power subsidy of Rs.260 crore for domestic consumers to provide relief to targeted consumers on account of increase in the tariff. The modalities will be worked out by the Government of NCT of Delhi," he said.
The subsidy will bring the monthly bill of consumers of up to 200 units from Rs.907 to Rs.667, thereby reducing it by Rs.240 (26.46 per cent). The new bill for consumers up to 400 units would be Rs.1,872, a reduction of Rs.320 or 14.5 per cent.
Terming the move a "good policy intervention", DERC chairperson P. D. Sudhakar welcomed the decision to restore partial subsidy.
Power subsidy has been a weapon for the political class in the Capital with the manifesto of all the major political parties pledging low power rates.
The Aam Aadmi Party, which made a stunning debut on the basis of the promise of reducing the tariff by half for consumption of up to 400 units, fulfilled the promise when it came in power early this year.
The BJP had also promised 30 per cent reduction in the tariff.