A World Bank Report describes the problems faced by India as it seeks to power its economy to higher performance.
What can be done? “Power is a very sensitive issue and it is tough to build consensus around reforms,” Pargal said. “We therefore lay out a menu of options for the government to consider.”
Welcoming the study for highlighting the numerous complexities of the challenge within one report, Jyoti Arora, Joint Secretary in the power ministry, said a lot of thinking is going on regarding power issues in the government.
Some key questions need to be addressed: How do we see the sector going forward? Is competition one of the answers? How do we bring accountability to the regulatory authorities? And importantly, what is the best way to bring power to rural consumers?
Since further in-depth analysis will be required to arrive at possible answers, the authors call for better data collection and its greater use for planning, monitoring and management. “Otherwise you can’t get a sense of the size of the problem – or know whether you are making any headway in solving it or not,” Banerjee said.
LIRNEasia’s work on improving the way customers are treated using ICTs, can help implement the reforms. It is always easier to push through reforms on billing and even tariffs when customers feel that they are being treated with respect.