Nagpur : The proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 clearly violates the constitutional mandate and undermines it’s federal structure. The intent should be towards decentralization of power for transparency and efficiency, says the Maharashtra State Energy Minister Dr.Nitin Raut.
Expressing his grave concern over the proposed amendments in the EA 2003, Dr. Raut said that the Center intends to override and dominate the State Government’s responsibility in the administration of power Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electricity.
He said the Constitution of India under Seventh Schedule, provides the powers to both the Central as well as State Governments to make appropriate laws on the matters related to electricity. However, with proposed amendments the Central government with an intention to centralise the power in its hand, proposed the amendment which makes states weaker in the matters related to power sector as the subject is now in concurrent list and provides equal opportunities to both Center and State.
He said by effecting the amendment the Centre was trying to privatise distribution, transmission and generation as it was now taking various measures and policy decisions to privatise the Public Sector Units under various pretexts. However its objectives were to benefit some business houses at the cost of common people on whose money the PSUs were created.
While elaborating the First Electricity Policy of India framed in 1943, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the then power minister in-charge specified that the power sector in India should be under government control and not ruled by private sector. While addressing the Power Committee on 24th October 1943, Dr Ambedkar strongly advocated the power sector to be kept under State Government control totally to serve the common people of the Nation. This vision is of paramount importance to the present times, adds Dr. Raut.
The Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India empowers both , the Central and State governments to enact laws on matters related to electricity as it is included in the concurrent list.
However, with proposed amendments, it is obvious that the Federal Structure of Electricity wherein the Centre and State Governments are responsible is being interfered. By centralizing the powers, the basic intent of the Constitution is being violated and centralization of power is not desired. The intent should be towards decentralization of power for transparency and efficiency.
Therefore, existing provisions empowering State Government as well as State Commission to take appropriate decisions/make rules & regulations after considering the State specific issues need to be continued.
Hence, Dr.Raut has requested the Center to withdraw draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 proposed by the Ministry of Power, Government of India.