The free virus has also infected the Maharashtra government too. The power minister Nitin Raut of Maharashtra announced on Friday (07.02.2020) that the state government of Maharashtra to is planning to give free electricity to residential users whose monthly consumption is up to 100 units.
However, experts of the state had warned that this move would be the death knell for industries in the state. He said still they had asked their department to look into whether the scheme could be implemented. The department after surveying and studying in-depth will be submitting a report within the next three months, said by Raut while speaking to media persons.
Raut also said that the state is also looking to provide electricity to farmers during the day and also plans to reduce power charges across the state. This provision to give 100 units of free power could not be applied in Maharashtra, because the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) is already facing losses.
MSEDCL is already finding it tough to replace old transformers and other equipments. Raut claimed that it is true, the task would not be easy but said that if the MSEDCL manages to bring down its distribution losses and also penalize those who are stealing power, this free virus could be managed.
However, experts, such as Ashok Pendse, had questioned that the state government’s logic claiming the move would not be financially feasible at all, in a state like Maharashtra. He gave the complete analysis that there are around 40 lakhs people in the state who consume between 1 to 100 units of power. The revenue comes to Rs 100-120 crore and annually the money foregone would be around Rs 1,300 crore. The government is not in a position to forego this revenue, said by Pendse.
On this Ashok Pendse said that the state has two options, at first, the state could decide to give it from its own exchequer which I don’t think is possible because of Maharashtra’s financial condition. The second option could be the state government can increase the electricity duty. However, this would provoke all the industries across the state as the duties are already too high for them due to cross-subsidies.
It is seen that this announcement of Raut for this free virus would be the effect of Congress proposal to be relevant within the state government as both the Shiv Sena and NCP had already taken decisions to keep their voter base happy by providing Rs. 10 food thali. Now, this free electricity move of Raut is also seen in the light of keeping voters happy because BJP in both Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra after the Delhi assembly poll has planned for ‘operation lotus.’
The Shiv Sena has already introduced the Rs 10-thali pilot for the poor with NCP targetting BJP, and now going for free power to stay in the limelight as said by Congress would not be possible.