Third World Centre for Water Management

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India: Policy darkness in the power sector

Asit Biswas

India Power | March 2013

India’s power sector now faces severe headwinds due to innumerable challenges which have been consistently ignored or poorly confronted for decades. To start with, the country has consistently underinvested in the power sector for the last six decades. In addition, the country’s perchance for muddling through, rather than making tough policy decisions for the country’s long-term power development plan, is legendary. The Government has consistently ducked the opportunities for fundamental reforms and opted for short-term, politically expedient solutions which often have contributed to long-term adverse impacts.

The problem is further compounded by the proliferation of central and state government institutions which have fingers in the pie but have different agendas and interests. These institutions have become part of the problem rather than offering proper and cost-effective solutions. Politicians invariably opt for politically-motivated solutions rather than what is good for the country over the long-term solutions, the power problem looks unsurmountable. In fact, the miracle is how India’s power sector has managed to muddle through the past 60 years in spite of these very serious shortcomings. The situation has worsened in recent years.

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