Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal, inaugurated the Conference of Ministers for Power, New & Renewable Energy & Mines of States & Union Territories in Vadodara, Gujarat today. Deliberation sessions would be held with State Governments during the Conference, on 7th & 8th October, with the aim to review the implementation of various ongoing Schemes/ Programmes & discuss a host of issues pertaining to Power, Coal, Renewable Energy and Mines sectors.Shri Goyal expressed happiness on the first time step that the host state is the co-chair for the conference. The Minister for Power, Government of Gujarat, Shri Chimanbhai Dharamshibhai Shapariya presided over the conference as the co-chair.The conference is being organized as a part of the SWITCH Global Expo organized by Government of Gujarat from 06th to 10th October, 2016 at Vadodara. Ministers from 20 States and 2 Union Territories are attending the two-day conference.
In his Inaugural address, Shri Goyal congratulated the Government of Gujarat for organizing the conference on such a large scale. He urged State Ministers and Officers to use this platform to deliberate and work collectively towards achieving sustainable growth of each citizen and become the fulcrum of growth and prosperity of the Nation as a whole.The Minister gave the motto, ‘Together We Can’ and asked States to look beyond individual State and departmental issues and keep a National perspective in solving the challenges faced by the common man. “Improvement is best change that is possible”, the Minister inspired the august gathering in his address.Shri Goyal, while congratulating Government of Gujarat on its achievements in efficient functioning of the power sector, cited its shining example where Good governance and good economics lead to good politics.The Minister delved into various issues of the Ministries of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines and the challenges faced at State level along with the collective solutions that can be worked out through cohesive working between the centre and the States. He also laid great stress on the importance of transparency, accountability and the use of modern technology in achieving an efficient working profile in these sectors.Shri Goyal, while acknowledging a positive response from the States in various policies and programmes of the Union Government, said that “I am greatly satisfied with the encouraging response from the States. We are not here to give out doles to States, rather the Union Government encourages states to become efficient in their functioning, more transparent and self reforming so as to work for the wider interests of the society and achieve the goal of 24x7 Affordable Power for All.”The Minister pointed out elementary challenges that affect the efficient functioning of the renewable energy sector at the State level. These include State Governments not signing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with the power suppliers, not paying for purchased power in time, not implementing the ‘Must Run Status’ for the power plants and non-compliance of renewable purchase obligation (RPO) strictly by all the States. The Minister observed that without addressing these basic issues at the earliest, the country’s power scene would not be able to meet the high standards set by this Government.
During the inaugural session, the Union Secretaries of the Ministries of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines highlighted various issues and challenges facing their sectors and stressed upon the need of cooperation from the States in achieving the respective goals.The focus areas of discussions to be held during the two-day conference will cover issues like implementation of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), 24x7 Power for All, Feeder monitoring, IT enablement of urban & rural feeders, Rural Electrification Programme, Energy conservation , Right of Way (RoW) compensation for transmission lines in urban areas, National Power Demand & National Electricity Plan, issues related to open access &captive generation, energy/peak shortage and increase in transparency by introduction of Mobile Apps.
Apart from above aspects, mandatory adoption of Energy Conservation Building Codes by States and Agricultural Demand side management will be discussed. Discussion will also be held on policy interventions for Hydro Development, including small hydro under the broad aspects of progressive Hydropower Policy.In the area of Renewable Energy, State wise review will be taken on issues regarding Solar Power, Wind Power as well as the compliance of Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs) and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).In the Coal sector, deliberations will focus upon issues like Import Substitution of coal, Third Party Sampling and flexibility in utilization of coal among other outstanding issues of coal companies.In the Mining sector, deliberations will concentrate upon important issues such as preparedness for e-auctions of major mineral blocks, setting up of District Mineral Funds (DMF) in the States, exploration policy & minor mineral rules, Star rating of Mines and curbing of illegal mining through Mining Surveillance System (MSS), among others.The concluding session of the conference would consist of comments and feedback by States/UTs and adoption of Conference Resolution by the delegates.