New Delhi: Some states are not cooperating enough with the Centre for their own development, energy minister Piyush Goyal alleged on Wednesday as he presented the year-end progress report of the ministries headed by him—power, coal and new and renewable energy.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government completed its first anniversary on 26 May.
“Some state governments have not co-operated as much as they should have, we urge them to increase it. Otherwise they would receive an appropriate response from the electorate in the coming days,” Goyal said while addressing a press meet in New Delhi.
Goyal blamed these states (without naming them) for the poor finances of state-owned electricity distribution companies (discoms).
He also accused previous Congress governments in three states—Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Haryana—of fiscal imprudence. All three are currently ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“The states have been fiscally imprudent over the last several years. In the case of Rajasthan, Vasundhra Raje (chief minister) inherited it in a complete state of collapse. The government of Rajasthan between 2008 and 2013 had ruined the discoms of Rajasthan, causing a loss of nearly `15,000 crore per year. Similarly, the erstwhile government of Maharashtra had completely ruined the discoms of Maharashtra,” he said.
State electricity boards, with a debt of `3.04 trillion and losses of `2.52 trillion, are on the brink of financial collapse.
Goyal’s statement comes in the backdrop of the NDA government’s efforts to usher in so-called cooperative federalism with greater cooperation between the centre and the states. As part of this, the centre has initiated steps such increasing the states’ share of the central divisible pool of taxes and the setting up of NITI Aayog that replaced the Planning Commission.
On the likely power shortage that Delhi is expected to face this summer, the minister said there were enough resources at the state’s disposal to generate power. “We conducted bidding of gas recently but they (Delhi government) didn’t participate. Cheap electricity, especially during peak hours, could have been made available for the people of Delhi through this process,” he said.
SOurce: Mint; 27 May 2015