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Electricity Policy Reform And Responsible Government In India

1676 words - 7 pages

With many different religious, ethnic, and social groups, the Republic of India is a unique and diverse state. Since gaining independence, India has faced a challenge of encouraging the variegated people within its borders to embrace and celebrate a common Indian identity even while nurturing their distinct cultures and traditions. This diversity is reflected throughout social and political challenges in Indian society. Although the different federal states are given a certain amount of leeway to accommodate for the population’s heterogeneity, the central government maintain a great amount of power for purpose of holding the nation together. As India has developed, one of its focuses has been the energy sector and increasing Indian citizens’ access to electricity. The government has historically carried a large influence over India’s vital electricity sector,. Electricity is a concurrent subject under the Constitution, falling under the purview of both the central government and the states. Whether by influencing the electricity sector through private companies collaborating with the central government or acting directly through state-owned companies and bureaucracies, India has maintained a large degree of centralized control over the electricity sector. Since passing the Energy Conservation Act of 2001, the government has pursued a national policy of increasing Indian electricity independence and access. In order to meet these goals, India has used state-owned enterprises and bureaucratic institutions to maintain direct control over the sector. However, the Electricity Act of 2003 reformed India’s electricity policy, allowing for more electricity sector privatization and fewer subsidies towards farmers. While the reformed system has been more cost-effective than under most state-owned enterprises, the loss of central planning control has reduced the government’s accountability and responsibility for the electricity sector. Additionally, the government’s management of the sector is occasionally beset by problems of inefficiency, corruption, and conflicts with rural citizens and local governments. In general, however, the Indian government still maintains a great amount of control over the electricity sector. Its centralized control over the sector remains largely intact and is directly accountable by the government to the people, thus indicative of a responsible government.
With an annual population growth of 1.3 percent (United Nations 2013), India’s energy needs are growing, especially in regards to electricity. Because new energy gains require multiples of power use, for the Indian economy to expand, electricity production has to rise more rapidly than total output. Thus far, areas of India remain in the dark: the “rise of 122 percent in [electric] generation [has been] insufficient for continued expansion” (DeVotta, 138). Still, the electricity sector has grown substantially since independence. Installed capacity in 1950 was 1,713...

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