Half of all states to join UDAY for revival of discoms: Power Minister

As many as 15 states have agreed to opt for UDAY scheme, meant for revival of debt stressed power distribution companies (discoms) in the country, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said today.

"Within 2 months of announcement of UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana) scheme, more than half of the states of
India are on board. A total of 15 out of 29 states are on board for Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna," the Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy Minister told reporters here.

The minister said that today, four major states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra -- have agreed to join UDAY.

With a total of 15 states joining UDAY, 90 per cent of over Rs 4 lakh crore debt of discoms will be covered under the

The first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under UDAY scheme will be signed tomorrow by Power Ministry, the
Jharkhand government and state discom JBVNL.

 He said while the Bihar Cabinet will consider and approve the proposal to join UDAY scheme tomorrow, the state councils of ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra have already given their nod to go for the scheme.

On being asked whether there would be restructuring of debt under the scheme, the minister explained that states will own the 75 per cent of debt and issue bonds to pare the loan.

The discoms will issue bonds with states' guarantee to raise funds for repaying remaining 25 per cent of the loan and old debt accounts will be paid, he elaborated.

The states which have evinced interest for the scheme include Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.

The minister said there are some states which are not able to join UDAY because their utilities don't have separate account for generation, transmission and distribution.

Goyal said Tamil Nadu is one of those states which have a single utility which is into generation, transmission and distribution.

In a bid to promote the use of electric vehicles, the minister said that he has spoken to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to exempt these vehicles from value added tax, road tax and registration charges.

"I will be speaking to other Chief Ministers also to provide these exemptions to electric vehicles for making COP21 a success much before envisaged," the minister added.

On being asked about annulling of coal mine auctions scheduled for this month, he explained "in global scenario when fuel prices are low, the real value of these mines would not have realised. That is why government thought of annulling the coal auctions."

On coal supply to thermal power plants, he said, "On an average, every thermal plant in the country has coal supply for 23 days."

"On December 29, 2015, nationally there was no shortage of power. The price on the exchange on that day was Rs 2.35 per unit," Goyal said, adding that now there is one nation, one grid and one price.

(This news story is from Zee News)