Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

Govt plans overhaul of Electricity Authority to attract fresh talent

Govt plans overhaul of Electricity Authority to attract fresh talent

New Delhi: The government plans to restructure the apex power sector planning body, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), to attract fresh talent.

The department of personnel and training (DoPT), overseen by the prime minister’s office, recently carried out a cadre review of the CEA for the first time in 20 years.

Power secretary P. Umashankar said Cabinet approval will be sought for restructuring the authority.

Photo: Bloomberg

The move comes at a time when financial crunch, environmental concerns and fuel shortage have hobbled the power sector and threatened growth in the world’s second fastest growing major economy.

The CEA, which advises the government on how to deal with these issues, has been facing an acute staff shortage as fresh engineering graduates are reluctant to join the public sector, Mint reported on 10 November 2008.

Recruitment to the CEA, which has 578 positions, is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission through the combined engineering services examination held annually for engineering graduates.

There are 14 engineering services; candidates selected for the CEA belong to the central power engineering service.

But fewer aspirants have been taking these examinations in recent years. Engineering graduates are increasingly choosing the private sector because of better pay.

“The power ministry had asked us for a comprehensive review, including restructuring, of CEA," said a DoPT official, asking not to be identified.

CEA’s chairperson Arvinder Singh Bakshi confirmed the development.

India’s power sector, already struggling to meet demand, faces difficult years ahead with electricity requirement expected to soar by 55.5% by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17).

India’s target of achieving 9% growth during the 12th Plan period may come unstuck, with power generation unable to match pace with growing demand.

India’s per capita consumption of electricity is only around 700 units, compared with the global average of 2,600 units.

Its record in increasing capacity is also poor. In the five years to 2007, the country added 20,950MW of capacity against a target of 41,110MW.

The government plans to add 100,000 MW during the 12th Plan to the current capacity of 181,000 MW. The bulk of the targeted addition is coal-based, but the country is facing an increasing shortage of the fuel.

Shortage of fuel, compared with demand, has widened from 4 million tonnes (mt) in 2004-05 to 40 mt in 2010-11.