ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Electricity SectorSubscribe to Electricity Sector

Incomplete Story of the Political Economy of the Power Sector

Mapping Power: The Political Economy of Electricity in India’s States edited by Navroz K Dubash, Sunila S Kale and Ranjit Bharvirkar, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp 400, ₹ 1,195.

Power Sector Woes: No Easy Answers

No Easy Answers Against the Current: Organisational Restructuring of State Electricity Boards edited by Joel Ruet; Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 2003; pp 224, Rs 500.

Electricity Reforms in India

The success of electricity reforms in India will depend critically upon the existence of some sort of restraining or disciplining mechanism in the sector, in the absence of which current efforts will likely result in a transition from inefficient public ownership to profit-gouging monopolies or oligarchies. In principle, such a mechanism could be strong, independent and effective regulatory oversight over public or private monopolies or significant competition among a large number of public and private entities. But it is important to examine without bias, and as thoroughly as possible, the feasibility and effectivness of both these sector-disciplining mechanisms before making any claims regarding the desirability of privatisation. The authors also argue that issues related to protecting the environment, extending access to the poor and other off-grid populations and strategic concerns related to import dependence and foreign private ownership need to be addressed upfront in order for the reforms to be in the broader public interest. [This paper is dedicated to the memory of Stephen R Bernow, 1942-2003.]

Linking Rivers: Some Elementary Arithmetic

On the basis of the scanty factual information that has been made available and a few assumptions, it is possible to attempt some elementary arithmetic about the cost per unit of water and per watt of power separately for the three components â?? the Peninsular, the Himalayan and the Hydroelectric - of the project to link the country's rivers. The results make one despair that instead of doing the first things that are crying out to be done first in regard to irrigation, people are being fed this pie-in-the-sky.

Madhya Pradesh: Towards Elections- Disaffection and Co-Option

Caste still defines social and political identity and oppressed groups are represented by tiny sections from each group that are more or less integrated into the existing political system. The panchayat system serves as one of the instruments of this integration by opening the doors of opportunity for that tiny elite. They, in turn, mobilise votes for the major political parties. Whether the Congress wins the coming assembly elections or not, the utility of political decentralisation for the ruling class has been well and truly proved.

Towards a People's Plan for Power Sector Reform

This paper presents a new approach to power sector reform, commencing with the objective of universal supply of electricity within 10 years, entitlement of specified quantities at low tariffs for poor households and agricultural pumpsets, and a novel way of restructuring the power structure in the states. Applying these principles and procedures to the power sector in Andhra Pradesh, the plan demonstrates that dependence on government subsidy can be done away with in five years.

The Political Economy of Power

India has taken a long time to arrive at a reasonable direction for the improvement of the power sector. For long it has been difficult to strike a proper balance between the commercial viability of the sector and the imperative need to make power available even to those deficient in resources to pay for it. This paper discusses the various issues in the sector and the present state of the reforms programme. It sees some room for hope growing understanding of the sector that seems to have developed among policy-makers.
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