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Delayed Electricity Amendment Bill expected in monsoon session

The minister also said that amended tariff policy after getting cleared by GoM has now gone to the cabinet for approval. This policy would also go a long way in reforming the power sector.

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New Delhi, June 25 : After a prolonged delay, the power ministry now proposes to introduce the amendments to the Electricity Act 2003 in the coming session of Parliament.

Power and renewable energy minister R.K. Singh said that new draft of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill was ready as comments on draft have all come by June 15 and it would be introduced in coming session of Parliament once law ministry clears it.

“We will try our best to introduce the Bill in the current session of Parliament itself,” Singh said during an online press conference.

He said that amendments were key to unleash next wave of reforms in the power sector that will support all segments of the industry to grow and prosper while allowing consumers to get assured supply of electricity at competitive price.

One of the proposals in the act is to initiate the exercise of direct benefi ttransfer (DBT) in the power sector. Singh allayed concerns that DBT would result in interruption in power supplies to the consumers if state did not release its share of subsidy. Power minister said that state would transfer subsidy into the power accounts maintained by customers with discoms and even if state failed to pay, consumers paying their bills will get uninterrupted electricity supply.

The minister also said that amended tariff policy after getting cleared by GoM has now gone to the cabinet for approval. This policy would also go a long way in reforming the power sector.

“Canard is now being spread about Centre extending its influence in the appointment of regulators. We have just said that instead of setting committee for each appointment a single standing committee can be set up with a sitting Supreme Court judge as its head and members from both Centre and states. Now, we are even considering having a standing committee in each state headed by Chief Justice of High Court and members from both Centre and state for appointments. Even in this framework states can appoint their regulators while Centre can do so for CERC,” the minister said.

He said that reforms were essential for the sector and even in the proposal to cap cross-subsidy surcharge, enough time has been given to states to correct the tariff and bring down the losses.

The minister also informed that India will reach its CoP 21 commitment of taking up the level of non fossilised fuel in country”s total energy mix to 40 per cent by 2030 a decade earlier in 2020 itself and plan to take up this level to 50 per cent by 2030 now. The country has already reached 37 per cent as of now.

Singh also said that the government is looking to promote ”Aatmnirbhar Bharat” in the power sector by promoting the domestic industry for equipment and other machinery. He said that duty structure would be devised in a way that it promoted use of local content.

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Farmers’ income won’t double before 2028, Derek tells RS

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New Delhi:  Taking a dig at the Centre’s claim to double the income of farmers by 2020, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien on Sunday said that it cannot be doubled before 2028.

Discussing the contentious farm Bills introduced in the Rajya Sabha, the TMC member said: “The Prime Minister said that the opposition is trying to mislead the farmers. You promised to double the farmers’ income by 2020. At the current rate, it won’t happen before 2028.”

He was referring to the Prime Minister’s remarks on Saturday that some persons were trying to mislead and even lie to the farmers.

Referring to the land acquisition Bill and TMC’s stance, O’Brien said: “How qualified is the TMC to speak on the Bills? Seven years ago… during the land acquisition bill… we spoke in favour of the farmers. Later, the Supreme Court said that the rights of the farmers cannot be overlooked.”

The TMC leader also claimed that West Bengal farmers’ income has doubled.

“Don’t bring the debate down to MSPs; we are opposing everything in the Bills. The Centre doesn’t have the right to implement these in the states. The states will not be able to ensure farmers’ interests. Who are you going to fool here? For the consumers too, what’s the protection? These Bills will have to be discussed and debated,” he said.

The TMC MP also moved amendments to send the farm Bills to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. He said that the parliamentary committees are not to break but contribute to law-making.

(IANS)

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Ex-PM H.D. Deve Gowda takes oath as RS member

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New Delhi: Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda took oath as a Rajya Sabha member on Sunday.

The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo took oath in Kannada in the presence of Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu shortly after the House convened for the day.

Gowda, 87, was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka with the support of the opposition Congress on June 12 in the biennial elections held in Bengaluru for four seats that fell vacant after the previous members’ terms ended on June 25.

Though 45 of the 61 new members took oath on July 22 in Parliament House, Gowda could not go to New Delhi then, as he was unwell and due to coronavirus-induced restrictions on travelling for senior citizens amid the pandemic.

Gowda has entered the Rajya Sabha for the second time, 24 years after he was elected when he was the Prime Minister from June 1996 to April 1997.

Meanwhile, former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Congress leader Ambika Soni and Samajwadi Party’s Revati Ramn Singh have sought leave from Sunday’s session.

Citing health issues, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram also sought leave.

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38 new Covid deaths in Delhi; cases top 2.42 lakh

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New Delhi: Another 38 people have succumbed to the dreaded novel coronavirus here, taking the death toll due to Covid-19 in the national capital to 4,945. Also, 4,071 fresh infections have been reported, taking the total number of cases beyond 2.42 lakh, officials said.

In the last 24 hours, 61,973 RT-PCR and antigen tests were conducted in Delhi, officials said on Saturday.

The Delhi government said a total of 2,42,899 persons have so far tested positive for Covid-19, while 2,05,890 people have recovered.

It said that in the last 24 hours, 4,219 people have recovered while 4,071 new cases were detected.

Currently, there are 1,820 Containment Zones in the national capital.

(IANS)

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