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Work on the free distribution of electricity from entry barriers and licenses: Modi

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New Delhi: Setting the stage for next-generation electricity sector reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that an electricity consumer should be able to choose their supplier like any other retail product.

While addressing a consultation webinar regarding the implementation of the Union budget provisions in the energy and renewable energy sector, PM Modi said that work is underway to liberate the distribution sector barriers to entry and licenses for distribution and supply.

This comes in the context of the Union budget announcing the establishment of a framework for choosing consumers’ electricity supplier. The current budget session in Parliament is expected to consider the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, with proposed amendments, such as measures to withdraw licenses “from the electricity distribution sector and make the more competitive sector.

The government is also working to resolve issues in the distribution sector. For this, a political and regulatory framework for DISCOM is in sight, ”said the Prime Minister, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s office.

A A $ 3.05 trillion electricity distribution reform program in the Union budget has also been announced to help reduce losses and improve the efficiency of electricity distribution companies (discoms).

PM also said that integrated 10 giga watt (GW) solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing plants with an estimated investment of Rs14,000 crore will be operational under the production incentive program (PLI).

It comes as the Indian government tries to attract foreign companies exploring a China plus one production strategy. The government has announced a PLI program that provides manufacturers in 10 industries, including those of high-efficiency solar modules, with total benefits of 1.97 trillion.

The Prime Minister informed that high efficiency photovoltaic solar modules are now part of the PLI program and that the government has committed to invest 4,500 crore rupees in it. He was hoping for a massive response to the project, ”the statement added.

Electricity is a strategically important sector, and the move is part of a larger Chinese decoupling exercise that has been initiated by the Indian government. India, which runs the world’s largest clean energy program, imported $ 2.16 billion worth of solar photovoltaic cells, panels and modules in 2018-19.

Mint previously reported U.S. silicon wafer maker 1366 Technologies, First Solar, Acme Solar, Vikram Solar, ReNew Power, and Adani Solar among 15 companies that are planning total investments of around $ 3 billion to build manufacturing facilities for ‘solar equipment here, capitalizing on Indian governments initiative to push local manufacturing.

We want to see our companies become global manufacturing champions, not just to meet local demands, ”the Prime Minister said according to the statement.

Globally, solar cell and module manufacturing is dominated by China, with India having a domestic manufacturing capacity of just 2 GW for solar cells and 10 GW for modules.

In addition to leveraging its growing green energy market to boost manufacturing, India is also looking to play a larger role in global supply chains. As part of this strategy, the union’s budget laid the foundation for building three major manufacturing zones. In addition, the government has also formulated its plan to impose a basic customs duty of 40% on modules and 25% on imports of solar cells.

The webinar was attended by the Minister of Energy and New and Renewable Energies, Raj Kumar Singh, experts, discom officials and senior officials.

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