An AGMUT cadre IAS officer of the 2002 batch, Padmini Singla holds the post of secretary (power, finance and planning) at the Government of NCT of Delhi. She is also the CMD of power companies under the Delhi government including Delhi Transco Limited (DTL), Indraprastha Power Generation Company Limited/Pragati Power Company Limited and Delhi Power Company Limited. In addition, she is responsible for all the policy matters of Delhi discoms – Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited and BSES Yamuna Power Limited. Singla has worked in various parts of the country such as the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh and Arunachal Pradesh in different administrative roles.
She takes pride in the fact that Delhi has the lowest aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C), and transmission losses in India. Its load shedding position has also improved significantly – it was only 0.05 per cent in 2018-19. The city’s renewable power generation stands at around 204 MW owing to the increased adoption of rooftop solar at various government buildings. “We are in the process of making significant investment in the sector to provide safe and reliable power to all residents in Delhi. In the coming days, the power supply position will improve further on account of proposed policy changes and technological initiatives by respective utilities,” says Singla. She further informs that DTL will increase its transformation capacity to 8,410 MVA and 20,000 MVA at 400 kV and 220 kV respectively by 2022, and work towards adding two 765 kV substations and automating its substations. The transco has also planned to increase its transmission line network to around 1,000 ckt. km by 2022, while its existing overhead transmission corridors are being upgraded with HTLS conductors.
Singla believes that second-generation reforms are underway in the power sector with a new electricity bill in the process of being drafted. “Although India has the third highest installed power generation capacity of around 367 GW, the country is far from realising its vision of providing 24×7 safe, reliable and affordable power to all,” she remarks. According to her, the key challenges that have restricted investment into the sector include the lack of fuel (coal and gas) for generators and the weak financial health of discoms. That said, the government’s target to install 175 GW of renewable capacity is expected to address the generation issue up to some extent. The UDAY scheme is also expected to revive discoms, though its real outcome will depend on the ability of distribution utilities to lower their AT&C losses, optimise their operational costs, reduce power theft, minimise leakages and improve metering and energy efficiency, she notes.
Talking about her most memorable assignments, Singla recalls that her role as director, school education, Delhi government, is the one she cherishes the most. “Having studied at a Delhi government school, it was an opportunity to give back to my alma mater. Also, I was contributing my bit in building the future of the nation in this role. Further, managing the staff of over 50,000 with 16 million students in nearly 1,000 government schools was challenging, but very satisfying too.”
Her management style is one of delegation, and follow-up. She empowers and motivates her team to deliver their best. She believes that a facilitating environment where everybody’s potential can be tapped is good for society and the country. Being a good listener with an open mind and a positive attitude helps her in getting feedback from people as they can approach her with any issues, suggestions and challenges. She likes to make people feel connected to the system they are working in. Her mantra has been “What you treasure, you must measure”. It has helped her in resolving long-standing issues and finding optimum solutions.
Singla considers the Bhagwad Gita and the works of Swami Vivekananda as her life guide books. Apart from them, she likes works such as Getting Things Done, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Nudge, and many more. She intends to write a book and learn music in the future. She follows Goethe’s stanza in her daily life, “Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute. What you can do or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin it, and the work will be completed”. Singla is an Amir Khan fan. She recharges herself by doing yoga and meditation, and enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her husband, who is also an IAS officer, and her two school-going children.