The smart use of information technologies, data analytics, and artificial intelligence can now benefit from 4G mobile network connectivity, which enjoys wide reach. 1REBOOT THE POWER DISTRIBUTION SECTORThe Government at both the Central and State levels has over the decades initiated major schemes to improve the financial and operational health of electricity distribution companies (Discoms). They have had multiple objectives, such as improving operations and technology, financial & structural reforms, and enabling electricity access to villages, rural households, and families below the poverty line. The latest and most ambitious scheme is Uday, launched in 2015 with multiple objectives to achieve debt restructuring, operational efficiency, and the adoption of smart technologies. However, the trajectory of results over the last three years have not met expectations. There is a real danger that a large number of discoms will again require financial oxygen: or as some experts say, an Uday 2 scheme. With a payment backlog of nearly Rs. 3,600 billion by discoms to electricity generators, another crisis is on the horizon.To address this recurring challenge, the government should legislate the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2014 and proposed Electricity (Amendment) Act 2018. It should address delays of agriculture subsidy payments to discoms by State Governments by ensuring a mechanism of timely direct benefit transfers (DBT) to the consumers from the Finance Commission’s state share. It should focus on checking and reducing losses due to theft of power, thus increasing revenues. Finally, it should integrate information and operations technologies, and create a Distribution Centre of Excellence at both the central and state level to ensure the implementation of the best practices drawn from entities that have a track record of excellent, consistent financial and operational performance results. 2India continues to suffer from a number of systemic challenges, many dating back decades, when it comes to governance, the delivery of services, and financial sustainability. The next government should focus its efforts on a few areas.ACLEANINDIAAJAINIRULAENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, &SUSTAINABILITYSECTION 3
INVESTIGATE BANKRUPTCY AND NON-PERFORMING ASSETSThe last four to five years have seen a galaxy of examples – airlines, jewelry, pharmaceuticals, steel, power, shipping, and sugars – that have collapsed due to non-performing assets and the inability to pay back loans for various reasons. NPAs from the power generation sector alone comprise around 5.9% of the banking sector’s total outstanding advances of Rs. 4.73 trillion, according to the Economic Survey 2016-17. There is a common thread. Public and institutional funds have been squandered, resulting in the financial loss and erosion of investor confidence and the slowing down of economic growth with banks unable to lend funds to stimulate growth.