The Union Cabinet has given its approval to a new scheme moved by the Ministry of Power – Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna or UDAY.
UDAY provides for the financial turnaround and revival of Power Distribution companies (DISCOMs), and importantly also ensures a sustainable permanent solution to the problem.
UDAY is a path breaking reform for realizing the goal of affordable and accessible 24×7 Power for All.
The weakest link in the value chain is distribution, wherein DISCOMs in the country have accumulated losses of approximately Rs. 3.8 lakh crore and outstanding debt of approximately Rs. 4.3 lakh crore (as on March, 2015).
Financially stressed DISCOMs are not able to supply adequate power at affordable rates, which hampers quality of life and overall economic growth and development.
Efforts towards 100% village electrification, 24X7 power supply and clean energy cannot be achieved without performing DISCOMs. Power outages also adversely affect national priorities like “Make in India” and “Digital India”.
In addition, default on bank loans by financially stressed DISCOMs has the potential to seriously impact the banking sector and the economy at large.
Due to legacy issues, DISCOMs are trapped in a vicious cycle with operational losses being funded by debt. Outstanding debt of DISCOMs has increased from about Rs. 2.4 lakh crore in 2011-12 to about Rs. 4.3 lakh crore in 2014-15, with interest rates upto14-15%.
Salient Features of UDAY
States shall take over 75% of DISCOM debt as on 30 September 2015 over two years – 50% of DISCOM debt shall be taken over in 2015-16 and 25% in 2016-17.
Government of India will not include the debt taken over by the States as per the above scheme in the calculation of fiscal deficit of respective States in the financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17.
States will issue non-SLR including SDL bonds in the market or directly to the respective banks / Financial Institutions (FIs) holding the DISCOM debt to the appropriate extent.
DISCOM debt not taken over by the State shall be converted by the Banks / FIs into loans or bonds with interest rate not more than the bank’s base rate plus 0.1%. Alternately, this debt may be fully or partly issued by the DISCOM as State guaranteed DISCOM bonds at the prevailing market rates which shall be equal to or less than bank base rate plus 0.1%.
State DISCOMs will comply with the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) outstanding since 1st April, 2012, within a period to be decided in consultation with Ministry of Power.
UDAY is optional for all States. However, States are encouraged to take the benefit at the earliest as benefits are dependent on the performance.