LAST week's unprecedented blackout in nearly half of the country was quite an embarrassment to India, the world's largest democracy, which is still smarting under the recent corruption scandals. Slowdown in economic growth, political uncertainty and bad press, too, has been dogging the country, touted as a rising economy. The nation has also been drawing adverse remarks from the global rating agencies as its currency continues to slide.
As most of the country is reeling under the spectre of a drought, the humungous power outage, on consecutive days, affecting over 600 million people, has come as a further blow. The country came to a halt, with scores literally groping in the dark. Thousands of people were stranded. An entire lot of institutions and establishments, including hospitals went without power.
In fact, power-cuts are not new to India. The summer months see regular outages. Compared to the urban areas, the vast countryside experiences prolonged interruptions.
An overload in the national power grid network was said to be the cause of the outage as engineers rushed and salvaged things commendably. If the power demand is not commensurate with the output, the government has to think of ways to overcome the deficit. But what is undeniable is the poor state of the national power transmission grid. The infrastructure needs investment and massive revamp to prevent transmission loss and power pilferages.
Power subsidies, graft and the state-owned malfunctioning units, which supply electricity to industrial, business and domestic consumers, are the bane of the energy sector. Hence, drastic measures have to be taken to streamline things, ushering in privatisation in more areas of power generation and supply.
The reform process, which had brought about a steady growth in the past, has to be restarted with a new thrust to promote industry and growth.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
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