New Delhi: The Electricity Act Amendment Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha yesterday. The bill has been sent to a parliamentary standing committee for scrutiny due to strong opposition from opposition parties.
Parliament met yesterday morning after a 2-day holiday. Electricity Minister RK Singh introduced the Electricity Act Amendment Bill 2022 in the Lok Sabha.
The bill aims to allow privatization of electricity in the telecommunications sector. If the bill passes both houses, customers will be able to choose a company for electricity just like they choose a company for phone and internet services. The bill seeks to amend sections 14, 42, 62, 146, 152, 166 of the Electricity Act.
RSP member Premachandran, Congress members Manish Tiwari, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Marxist member MA Arip, Trinamool member Saukata Roy, DMK member DR Balu and others opposed the bill. They said the Bill was against the federal principle of the Constitution.
RSP member Premachandran says, “Electricity is on the list of harmonizing the political act. Therefore, it is the duty of the central government to hold detailed consultations with the state governments before introducing the bill,” he said.
Manish Tiwari says, “This bill allows multiple private companies to supply electricity in the same area. This will result in a profit to the individual and a loss to the government. This bill tries to reduce the central government’s role in power supply,” he said.
“This bill has been tabled against the promise made to the farmers when they protested in Delhi,” alleged members Saukata Roy and MAarib.
Farmers and poor will suffer
DMK member DR Balu says, “Tamil government has been providing free electricity to farmers for many years. “This amendment will affect the poor farmers who get free electricity,” he said.
Union Power Minister Singh said, “The opposition parties are spreading false propaganda about this bill. Farmers can continue to get free electricity. The bill does not prevent grant-in-aid. We tabled this bill after consultation with the states and various stakeholders. This bill is in favor of people and farmers,” he said.
Following this, Speaker Om Birla announced that he would send the bill to the Standing Committee of the Parliament for detailed consultation regarding the concerns of the opposition members.
Chief Ministers of Delhi and Punjab protested
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the bill was dangerous when it was introduced in Parliament. In his Twitter post, he said, “The Electricity Amendment Bill has been brought in the Lok Sabha. It is very dangerous. By this, instead of improving the country’s electricity problem, the problem will worsen. People’s suffering will increase. Only a few companies will benefit. I request the central government not to bring this in haste,” he said.
In one of his posts, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann made another attack on states’ rights. The central government should not treat the states as puppets. We will fight for our rights from the road to the parliament,” he said.
At the same time, Central Power Minister RK Singh said in his Twitter post, “This bill is beneficial for the people and the development of the country. There will be no change in the grant related clauses. State governments can give any amount of subsidy to any type of consumer. Why even give it away for free? There is no section that affects the farmers. Strong state electricity commissions can regulate all distribution companies, whether public or private,” he said.