On Saturday, PM Modi also launched the power ministry’s flagship revamped Distribution Sector Scheme, which, according to his office, “is aimed at improving the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of the DISCOMs and power departments”. 

“With an outlay of over Rs. 3 lakh crore over a period of five years from FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26, the scheme aims to provide financial assistance to DISCOMs for modernization and strengthening of distribution infrastructure, focussing on improvement of the reliability and quality of supply to end consumers,” a statement from the PMO read.

The losses in the distribution sector in India are in double digits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, stressing that the figure is in “single digits” in developed nations. 

He was speaking at the event marking the culmination of ‘Ujjwal Bharat Ujjwal Bhavishya – Power @2047’.

“This means that we have a lot of wastage of electricity and therefore we have to generate more electricity than we need to meet the demand,” the prime minister stressed.

In many states, the dues to power sector firms have even passed the ₹1 lakh crore mark, he underlined. 

“The country will be surprised to know that different states have outstanding dues of more than ₹1 lakh crore. They have to give this money to power generation firms. Power distribution companies have more than ₹60 thousand crore to many government departments, local bodies also, in dues,” PM Modi said.

Arrears worth more than ₹75,000 crore are also stuck, PM Modi highlighted, underlining that the power firms were “not able to get even the money that has been committed for subsidy on electricity in different states on time and in full”. 

“That is, about ₹2.5 lakh crore are stuck for those who are responsible for providing electricity from door to door.”

Urging the states to clear the dues at the earliest, PM Modi said: “I request the states where dues are pending, to clear them as soon as possible. Also, consider the reasons sincerely that even when the countrymen pay their electricity bills honestly, why do some states have arrears again and again?”