According to reports, the BJP’s blueprint for the energy sector includes restructuring coal India by creating new companies to handle problematic mines with world-class technology and management; adopting a gas pricing formula that satisfies both producers and consumers; and pioneering a renewable energy revolution in the country, the convener for the party’s energy cell Narendra Taneja said.
The BJP’s manifesto already promises a ‘comprehensive energy policy’ to harness oil, gas, hydro, ocean, wind, solar, coal and nuclear energy, and some of its top leaders such as Nitin Gadkari, Murli Manohar Joshi, LK Advani, Piyush Goyal have been involved in discussions on a fuel policy for the country. For the coal sector, the party plans to carve out four to five independent companies that will operate some with modern technology under professional management, he said.
In Gujarat, Modi had ejected political appointees from state ventures and power utilities and made them autonomous and professionally run, helping them turn profitable. He said the new companies would be controlled by Coal India but may include private equity holding also.
“India is big importer of energy, but the UPA government did not have any strategy in place to tackle the issues concerning the sector. We will have to start everything from scratch to reform the sector since energy starved nation cannot be a super power. Modi will be country’s first energy literate Prime Minister and the sector will be one of the top priorities of the government. The idea is also to make energy affordable to all in a country where 40 per cent of the population is deprived of access to electricity and 70 per cent are unable to afford energy,” Taneja said.
For the coal sector The companies will be state controlled but will get private partners. For gas pricing, it plans a thorough relook to get to a formula that will please both producers and customers. It wants to sort out the mess before launching the next round of Nelp. It also dreams of a renewable energy revolution as solar and wind projects can creat 9-10 jobs in small hamlets, says Taneja.
He says senior leaders are already debating energy issues, confident that the party will form the government under the “first 100 pct energy literate PM”. Commenting on party’s view on revising natural gas price, which has become a contentious issue, Taneja said the party would take a fresh look at the price formula that was recommended by C Rangarajan. He said it was possible to have a formula that would meet the expectations of gas producers as well as the customers by holding proper consultations with all stakeholders.
He said the BJP would like to facilitate exploration and production companies in government and private sectors to carry forward their activities that have faced many obstacles. “At a time when some of foreign companies have abandoned their Indian plans, the country will not be able to attract new E&P companies,” said Taneja. He added that BJP will introduce reforms with transparency and have a better dialogue with the stakeholders in the decision making process to prevent opposition from alleging any corruption in the process.
He said renewable energy would also be a focus area for the party as this sector can make a huge difference to country’s energy supply and has the potential of creating jobs in every village. In Gujarat, the Modi government has encouraged the renewable energy sector, and the state accounts one-third of country’s solar power installations.