Union Power Minister RK Singh on Friday announced that no power equipment can be imported from China and Pakistan without prior permission of the government.
“Today we manufacture everything which is required for the power system in our country. We have that manufacturing facility and capacity. In the year 2018-19, we have imported power equipment worth of Rs 71,000 crore of which Rs 21,000 crore were from China,” Singh said after attending a conference with Energy Ministers of states and union territories. “No power equipment can be imported from China and Pakistan without prior permission,” he added.
He said that power sector, being strategic and essential in nature, is vulnerable to cyber attacks, therefore, imported equipments will be subjected to testing to check influx of malwares like Trojan etc.
This came amid nationwide outrage against China after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash with Chinese troops when they attempted to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation. Indian intercepts revealed that the Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured.
The minister said that equipment which are being manufactured in the country should get priority in procurement. “I pointed out that some (power) distribution companies are using some equipment made in other countries, mostly in China, whereas those equipment are made here,” Singh said.
“So we have issued order, that whatever is manufactured here should get priority in procurement. In the sphere of conventional electricity, we make everything here except for 5 items. We need to encourage our companies so that we can create employment in our country,” he added.
In the video conference meeting with Power Ministers of States and UTs, the minister said that the major challenge in the power sector to make the distribution companies viable and make our country self-reliant in manufacturing of equipment related to the power sector.
“A lot has been achieved in the power sector which includes a capacity addition of nearly 15000 MW per year since 2014, connecting of the entire nation through one grid spanning far off areas like Leh and Ladakh with grid. India’s Grid system is one of the best in the world which was demonstrated during light out event on 5 April, 2020 when our grid handled steepest fall and climb in demand within a very short time,” Singh said.
The minister said that liquidity infusion upto Rs 90,000 crore for DISCOMs was being given under a Package announced by the Government of India recently for losses up to March 31, 2020.
He informed that against this demand of about Rs 93,000 crore has been received from States/UTs and an amount of Rs 20,000 crore have been approved as of now while the remaining demands are being processed expeditiously.
The minister also informed that a new scheme will soon be announced after merging Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS).
“Centre’s funding to States is being made conditional in the new scheme. The States or UTs whose DISCOMs are not in loss will have no problem in getting the funds but the states/UTs whose DISCOMs are in loss will have to give a proper plan as to how they are going to eliminate the losses to get funds,” he said.
He added that State/UT Governments will get some flexibility in the new scheme to enable them to plan according to their specific needs.