HYDERABAD: Though the Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 has been referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for wider consultations to address concerns of farmers and several State governments, the occurrence of ‘as may be prescribed by the Central government’ over a dozen times in it is making the stakeholders jittery.
“As may be prescribed by the Central government” can be found at 14 places. It means the Centre may change the content any time by framing new rules after passing the Bill. Even if the Bill in its present form is implemented in toto, there is every danger of the Centre changing the norms in the future,” State Planning Board Vice-Chairman B Vinod Kumar told Express in an exclusive interview.
Vinod Kumar, also a senior TRS leader, believes the Bill will ultimately pave the way for privatisation of power generation and distribution. “The poor would be deprived of power, once the Bill is passed in Parliament,” Vinod Kumar fears. Pointing out that electricity falls under the ‘concurrent list’, he says the Centre is usurping the rights of the States. “The Centre’s move is against the federal setup and nothing but a violation of Constitutional provisions,” Vinod Kumar alleges.
Telangana is among 11 States and the union territory of Puducherry, which have opposed the Bill. However, if the Bill is made into an Act, States will have no option but to implement it. Because of this, the TRS government has decided to “bring awareness” among the people about the adverse impact of the Bill so that they understand that the BJP-led Central government is responsible for possible power woes.
“We will educate the people on the ill effects of the Bill,” Vinod Kumar, says. It is pertinent to note that the State Legislative Assembly adopted a resolution opposing the Electricity (Amendment) Bill on September 15, 2020. The TRS government wants the Centre to withdraw the ‘draconian Bill’.