Jayant Kumar joined the board of NHPC as director, finance, in May 2015. With more than three decades of experience in the power sector, Kumar has made significant contributions towards commercial matters related to tariffs and collection of dues, fund-raising programmes, reduction in contingent liabilities, improving internal control systems, and implementation of Indian accounting standards. Besides an active involvement in NHPC’s disinvestment programme/IPO in 2009, Kumar also played a key role in the government’s buyback scheme and the issuance of NHPC’s tax-free bonds with an issue size of Rs 10 billion in 2013.
According to Kumar, power is critical for India’s infrastructure and economic growth. The sector is undergoing a significant change, which has redefined the industry outlook. The government’s focus on power for all has accelerated capacity addition. With regard to hydro, he says, “About 65 per cent of the potential remains to be exploited. At present, the emphasis is on deploying sustainable and renewable sources of generation to meet the increasing demand. Hydro is a clean and dependable renewable energy source, which is commercially viable on a large scale.”
Over the years, investments in the sector have been largely focused on augmenting generation capacity, he notes. This has resulted in relative under-investment in the T&D space, leading to the backing down of power stations, low plant load factors, and high T&D losses.
Noting the key challenge faced by the sector, he says, “The main issues impeding the growth of the sector are inadequate last mile connectivity with all electricity consumers and the unavailability of reliable power supply.”
Looking back, he recalls the IPO and disinvestment programme of NHPC as his most memorable assignment. “The whole process contained marathon time-bound exercises, vast legal compliances, coordination among various agencies, approvals from different authorities, roadshows in India and abroad, listing on the stock exchange, collection of funds and appropriation thereof,” he says.
Kumar has developed a people-oriented management style and likes to consult and cooperate with his colleagues to achieve optimal results. He believes in not wasting time and focusing on things that matter.
In his spare time, he likes to read novels, magazines and political documents, and watch movies.