Beginning of the end

The government has announced a power bailout package yet again. Will it help discoms recover or will we be back to square one in five years’ time?

There’s a popular T-shirt slogan, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” It might as well have been a commentary on the Indian power sector and what ails it. In 2001, based on the roadmap drawn by the Montek Singh Ahluwalia committee, the government outlined a bailout package for cash-strapped state power utilities. The intention was to ensure that the dues owed to central public sector enterprises such as NTPC, NHPC and Coal India, amounting to over Rs.41,000 crore, were repaid.