In the past 20 months, a range of initiatives have been launched by the central government to revive the distribution segment, which has been dealing with issues like ageing infrastructure, high operational losses and financial fragility. Before the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana was launched in November 2015, two schemes that were key in this regard were the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) and the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).
The IPDS and DDUGJY were approved by the cabinet in November 2014 and December 2014 respectively, with the aim of augmenting urban and rural sub-transmission and distribution networks and the quality and reliability of power supply.
Power Line provides an update on the current status of both schemes…
The IPDS mainly aimed to strengthen the sub-transmission and distribution network in urban areas by reducing aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses; undertaking metering at points like distribution transformers (DTs) and feeders; and establishing IT-enabled energy accounting to improve billing and collection efficiency.
The Power Finance Corporation (PFC) is the nodal agency for implementing the scheme, which is being monitored by a project management agency under the Ministry of Power.
The scheme’s total outlay is around Rs 326 billion, including gross budgetary support of Rs 253 billion from the Government of India. It includes Rs 253 billion for the development of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure; Rs 30 billion for the renovation and modernisation of substations and lines; Rs 17 billion for metering at the consumer end, DTs and feeders; and Rs 3.5 billion for implementing enterprise resource planning. The Restructured Accelerated
Power Development and Reforms Programme’s (R-APDRP) outlay of Rs 440 billion, including budgetary support of Rs 227.27 billion, has been carried forward to the IPDS. The R-APDRP has also been merged with the IPDS for the Twelfth and Thirteenth Plan periods.
As of November 2015, the monitoring committee had sanctioned detailed project reports (DPRs) worth Rs 242.04 billion for 26 states, covering 3,406 towns. DPRs for the remaining have either been appraised or are being appraised by PFC. Standard guidelines, technical specifications and bid documents have been issued and the centralised procurement of high-value items is in progress.
As of December 2015, under Part A of the R-APDRP, 1,131 towns out of 1,409 had gone live. Under Part B, which is meant to strengthen and upgrade the distribution network, work had been completed in 360 towns. An additional 90 towns have been targeted by March 2016. An online system for analysing post-go-live reports for Part A towns is also being developed; this will eventually be migrated to the national power portal. In addition, a first-of-its-kind impact assessment study of IT enablement has been undertaken in 14 states under the IPDS.
The new initiatives include a study on the segregation of commercial losses from overall AT&C losses in the 10 pilot towns in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Inputs are yet to be received from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. A study of 10 discoms where AT&C losses have declined in the past five years is also being undertaken. A new mobile application for the distribution segment, called URJA, is being developed as well.
This scheme primarily aims to undertake regulated power supply to agricultural consumers and continuous power supply to non-agricultural consumers in rural areas through feeder separation for these two consumer categories. The three components of the scheme include the separation of agricultural and non-agricultural feeders, the strengthening and augmentation of the sub-transmission and distribution system in rural areas, and rural electrification. The third component, rural electrification, subsumes the previously launched Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY).
The DDUGJY has an approved outlay of Rs 430 billion, which includes budgetary support of Rs 334 billion. Segment-wise, the outlay includes Rs 247.5 billion for feeder separation and the setting up of new feeders, Rs 15.15 billion for 33 kV/66 kV lines, Rs 40.45 billion for 33 kV/66 kV substations, Rs 53.5 billion for low tension infrastructure work, and Rs 64.5 billion for installing meters at the consumers’ end, DTs and feeders. An additional outlay of Rs 392.75 billion for rural electrification work under the RGGVY has been carried forward to the scheme.
By end-2015, about 606 projects across the 29 states and union territories were sanctioned under the DDUGJY with a total cost of Rs 411 billion. An institutional subsidy of over Rs 10 billion has been released for projects in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
Under the scheme’s rural electrification component, a total of 4,008 (57 per cent) villages have been electrified against a target of 7,000 villages for 2015-16 (as of January 2016). Given that the objective is to power 18,452 unelectrified villages by March 2017, there remains a balance of 14,444 villages. Of these, the electrification of 10,733 villages will be done through the grid, 2,755 villages off the grid, and 956 villages under the state plan.
In addition, 17,796 villages have been sanctioned for electrification and 11,554 have been issued letters of award. Funds amounting to Rs 41.98 billion have been released against a target of Rs 45 billion for 2015-16.
To augment the monitoring system, special functionaries called Grameen Vidyut Abhiyantas (GVAs) are being appointed, with about 340 GVAs having been deployed across the country. Their role is to capture the scheme’s milestone-wise progress and undertake ground-level monitoring.
Several other initiatives are also being taken to further expedite rural electrification. A new mobile application called Grameen Vidyutikaran (GARV) has been developed to provide information regarding the status of village electrification work. The entire process has been divided into 12 major milestones, which can be effectively monitored through GARV. Additional features pertaining to feedback and suggestions, state-wise snapshots, village adoptability, GVA visits and delayed target achievement have also been added to it.
In addition, initiatives pertaining to night out village images; GVA tracking through the Indian Space Research Organisation; and the mapping of electricity infrastructure through Digital India in association with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics, Ahmedabad, are under trial run.
A robust distribution segment is a must for ensuring the viability of the power sector. The IPDS and DDUGJY have both laid out comprehensive plans to resolve the issues distressing the segment. The timely achievement of their targets is a must for realising the government’s objective of Power for All by 2022.