The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

Withdraw This Retrograde, Anti-People “Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020”

The CPI(M) opposes the proposed “Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020” which is designed for the complete privatisation of the power sector.

This is a proposal for complete centralization of authority, a frontal attack on the federal principle of our Constitution. Electricity is in the concurrent list of our Constitution. The States therefore have an equal responsibility and role in generation, distribution, regulation and to decide on the charges that will be levied from the people depending on their economic status and occupation. This right of the states is totally negated by this proposal.

The states will be completely out of the purview in the determination of power purchase and sale agreements and the award of contracts. The work schedule and dispatching of power of the state and regional dispatching centres will now be under the central authority adversely affecting the state electricity generation corporations. The state distribution companies will become redundant and the work will be done through private contractors.

The determination of tariff to be paid by “all” does away with the principle of cross subsidy whereby the rich and the wealthy pay a higher rate while the poor and the needy pay less.

Currently, farmers in many states get free power for agricultural operations. MSMEs and smaller industrial units also get concessions. All this will go. This means the agrarian distress will further deepen and the informal sector employing the largest number of people will be rendered unviable.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that this retrograde proposal is immediately withdrawn. At a time when the Indian economy is in a tailspin and the country is fighting the Covid pandemic, such proposals that will favour the wealthy while burdening the needy are totally unacceptable.