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India faced 1.2% power deficit till October, with the shortfall expected to be normalized by the end of the year, the Union power ministry said on Monday.

“India had a massive power deficit of -16.6% in 2007-08. In 2011-12, it was -10.6%. Through the multipronged, comprehensive, and aggressive interventions of the government, this deficit is near about wiped out, consistently over the last three years: -.4% In 2020-21, -.7% in 2019-20, and -.8% in 2018-19," the ministry said.

“The current year, up till October, it has been -1.2%, the marginal spike being attributable to the annual post monsoon pressure on power output. This is also likely to normalize by the end of the year," it said.

India’s daily electricity consumption has crossed 4 billion units, resulting in a 18% spike in coal consumption during August-September 2021 compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

“This has been made possible by massive policy and infrastructure interventions through schemes of this government such as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya)," the ministry said.

This comes at a time depleted fuel stocks at power plants have led to concerns about a possible electricity shortage. This assumes significance given that coal fuelled power projects totalling 202.22 gigawatt (GW) account for more than half of India’s power generation capacity. The coal stock situation has since improved.

“DDUGJY was brought in on 25 July 2015 for an infrastructure push in the rural sector, setting up of transmission and sub transmission systems. IPDS was brought in on 20 November 2014 for to fill in power infrastructure gaps in urban areas. The Saubhagya scheme launched on 25 September 2017 had the vision to take electricity to every household and has been able to supply electricity connections to 2.8 to crore households that were in darkness," it said.

The government said it aims to ensure 24x7 power that is reliable, sustainable, and affordable.

It implemented the 16,320-crore Saubhagya scheme to provide electricity to all Indian households during the first term of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The coal shortage has coincided this year with a sharp spike in electricity demand, growth in number of electricity consumers, and inadequate stocking up by power projects before monsoon. Heavy rain in September impacted coal production and dispatch and non-payment of coal dues also contributed towards inadequate supplies.

This comes when the central government is also working on the marquee 3.03 trillion power distribution company (discom) reform scheme.

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