Need to Reduce Dependence on Power Sector Import: RK Singh

In order to protect the safety and security of our country, there is a need to reduce the dependency on import in the power sector, said RK Singh on Tuesday.

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R K Singh

The Minister also emphasized that power is a critical infrastructure for the development of our country, and everything, including, communication, data services, health services, logistics, defence manufacturing etc depends on the sector.

The move seemed to be taken by the government amid escalating tensions with China on the border and a recent slowdown in the economic activity due to the spread of coronavirus pandemic within the country.

The Union Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (IC), RK Singh interacted via video conferencing with developers of power generation and transmission projects in the power and renewable energy (RE) sector.

During interaction with industry stakeholders, Singh emphasized the importance of the movement for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in order to promote the manufacturing of goods and services in the country and to create jobs.

Further, Singh also pointed out that from the data on item-wise quantum of imports in power sector given by DGCI (Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence), Department of Commerce it is seen that many types of equipment like transmission line towers, conductors, industrial electronics, capacitors, transformers, cables and insulators and fittings etc in respect of which domestic manufacturing capacity exists, are still being imported.

So, he suggested that in order to promote ‘Make in India’ and reducing import dependency, it is essential that developers in the transmission, thermal, hydro, distribution, renewables need to join the national campaign of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and wholeheartedly adopt the ‘Make in India’ policy of the government.

Besides, Power Minister also pointed out that power is a sensitive and strategically important sector, as all our communications, manufacturing, data management and all essential services depend on the power supply and any malware may bring down the system. Therefore, ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ has a much higher level of significance for the sector.

Additionally, RK Singh urged all the developers to take the pledge that:-

They will not import any equipment, materials or goods in respect of which there is sufficient domestic capacity.

Secondly, in a case where domestic capacity is not available for goods and services and import is inevitable then it should be allowed only for a fixed timeframe of 2-3 years during which indigenous manufacturing of these items would be developed by an enabling policy and tax incentives, start-ups, vendor development or R&D support so that within that time all these items get domestically manufactured. He also added that till such time goods so imported will be tested in Indian laboratories for adhering to Indian standards and also to check the presence of malware.

Moreover, in case of equipment and items required to be imported, the import of such equipment and items from prior reference countries shall be done only after obtaining prior approval of the Ministry of Power and MNRE.

The directions or steps if implemented in a way as it is framed or to be thought of can definitely prove to a boon for the entire power manufacturing industry in India. However, there’s always a need to support the industry stakeholders in overcoming obstacles which they likely to face while following such directives.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also emphasized the need for improving the financial sustainability of the power sector in order to solve the issues prevailing in the sector especially the power distribution sector. At that time, he also stressed on the need for more emphasis on ‘Make in India’ initiative.

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Manu Tayal

Manu is an Associate Editor at Saur Energy International where she writes and edits clean & green energy news, featured articles and interview industry veterans with a special focus on solar, wind and financial segments.