Rewarded for his hard work, Piyush Goyal, holding charge of four important ministries (Power, Coal, Renewable Energy and Mines) as the minister of state with Independent Charge, has been elevated to the rank of a full-fledged cabinet minister in the reshuffle by Narendra Modi government on Sunday morning.
Goyal’s elevation is no surprise as he has been considered for long amongst the top achievers in the Modi Cabinet. Goyal at 52 is one of the youngest ministers in the Modi government and was made the minister of state for the first time in 2014. Today in 2017, within three years, Goyal has become the full-fledged Cabinet minister in Modi’s council of ministers.
Not only did Goyal reform India’s crippling power and coal sectors, he gave an altogether new dimension to India’s plans on the renewable energy and energy efficiency front.
From no targets and a mere capacity of around 2500 mw of solar power in 2014, this minister set targets of adding 1 lakh megawatt of solar and 1,75,000 MW of combined renewable energy in the country by 2022.
Rural electrification that was happening more on papers than on the ground was imparted a massive push by Goyal and his team in the power ministry. Presently, the number of villages in the country that have still not electrified have come down from 18,000 in 2014 to just about 4000 today.
The government has set a deadline of August 15, 2022 for electrification of all households in the country and May 2018 for the electrification of all villages.
State-owned Coal India Ltd—which was mired into controversies when Piyush Goyal got charge of the coal ministry, was turned around from a coal importing company to one with surplus production of coal. Improved coal production by CIL coupled with energy efficiency measures imparted a new momentum to India’s power generation capacity.
A massive improvement has been made in the country’s power distribution sector with the launch of the flagship scheme UDAY or of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana for the financial and operational turnaround of state power distribution companies.
The recent ‘Report on Performance of State Power Utilities’ published by Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has showed that the accumulated losses and outstanding debt of DISCOMs have increased from Rs 2,53,700 crore and Rs 3,04,228 crore respectively from 2012-13 to Rs 3,60,736 crore and Rs 4,06,825 crore respectively in 2014-15. However, since launch of UDAY in November 2015, the participating states have provisionally reported reduction in annual losses by approximately Rs 11,000 crore from 2015-16 to 2016-17.
Government sources said the Prime Minister, Modi has decided to bestow him with more responsibility. While it remains to be seen, the corridors of power are rife with the rumours of Goyal being given the charge of the Railways ministry.
Currently, Writing a Book for Penguin India Titled Greased Pole:How Politics and Lobbying Stifled India's Energy Dreams. The author can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org (9810661825)
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