Delhi power subsidy scheme to be extended

New Delhi: In light of the upcoming general election and the significant participation in the Delhi government’s power subsidy scheme, authorities are contemplating the automatic renewal of the initiative for the next fiscal year.

A senior government official disclosed that considering the potential implementation of the code of conduct preceding elections, the scheme might be seamlessly extended until the electoral process concludes.

While the code of conduct typically doesn’t impede existing schemes, the official noted the strain on administrative resources during election periods, warranting provisions for auto-renewal.

The proposal aims to alleviate the bureaucratic burden amid electoral preparations and ensure uninterrupted benefits for eligible consumers. With the general elections to the 18th Lok Sabha anticipated in April and May, the scheme’s continuity until the conclusion of the electoral process appears imminent. The Election Commission’s announcement of the poll schedule triggers the code of conduct, which remains effective until the declaration of election results.

Delving into the scheme’s participation statistics, data from the Delhi government reveals a substantial uptake among domestic power consumers. Of the approximately 58 lakh domestic consumers in the capital, 51 lakh opted for the subsidy for consumption up to 400 units as of November last year. Furthermore, nearly 38 lakh consumers enjoyed exemption from charges for consumption up to 200 units, while 13 lakh benefited from a 50 per cent waiver for consuming between 201 and 400 units. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement in May 2022 initiated the ‘opt-in’ scheme, mandating written consent from domestic consumers to avail themselves of the subsidy for consumption up to 400 units. Despite initial hesitancy among consumers, a majority have since embraced the scheme, reflecting in the increased number of subsidised bills over the past months.

In the 2023-24 budget allocation, the government earmarked Rs 3,250 crore for the power subsidy, with an additional Rs 100 crore granted in the revised estimates

The deliberations surrounding the automatic renewal of the power subsidy scheme underscore the government’s approach to welfare initiatives amid the electoral cycle. By potentially extending the scheme without requiring consumers to reapply, authorities aim to streamline administrative processes and uphold continuity in essential services. As Delhi navigates through the electoral fervour, the prospect of uninterrupted power subsidies provides a semblance of stability for residents grappling with rising utility costs.

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