The inefficiencies of power companies will no longer have to be borne by customers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday, announcing several reforms in the tariff policy as part of the fourth tranche of the centre's coronavirus financial stimulus. She said power companies will have to provide adequate power and load-shedding will be punishable.
Ms Sitharaman also announced privatisation of power distribution in Union territories under the new policy.
"There will be privatisation here based on the tariff policy, which will soon be in place. Inefficiencies of power companies will no longer have to be borne by customers. There will also be penalties for things like load-shedding," she said in her fourth daily press conference.
"It will also rectify the sub-optimal output of power companies. Needless to say, that when efficiency will rise, quality of service will too," she added.
She announced that subsidy in the power sector will now be provided through direct transfer.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week announced a Rs 20 lakh crore to revive the economy battered by the lockdown.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman detailed reforms to eight sectors today in the fourth tranche of announcements related to the package.
Among today's big-ticket measures were a 25 per cent increase in FDI in the defence sector and removal of government monopoly on coal mining.
On Friday Ms Sitharaman announced 11 measures aimed at boosting agriculture and allied activities. Earlier, the Finance Minister gave MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) Rs 3 lakh crore in collateral-free loans and the middle class received tax benefits.