Ensure quality power supply at reasonable rates to industries: FM tells state govts

CHENNAI, 10 May: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday appealed to the states to build infrastructure and conduct “energy planning,” so that uninterrupted, quality supply of power is made available to industries at reasonable rates, enabling them to grow their businesses.

At an event here, she said that the Centre would extend all its support to help states build the necessary infrastructure and this does not pertain to Tamil Nadu but to the other states also.

Referring to her budget announcement of allotting Rs 7.50 lakh crores to the infrastructure sector in the country, she said it was comparatively higher to the Rs 5.50 lakh crores that had been allotted last year.

“My appeal to states is that they should ensure electricity and it should be made available 24 hours, all 365 days at reasonable rates. Industries should get quality power,” she said.

Sitharaman said every stakeholder should work towards ensuring uninterrupted power supply, so that power shortage does not occur, since it poses as a major hurdle for the industry’s growth.

The finance minister was speaking at a stakeholder’s outreach programme organised by the directorate general of foreign trade on the occasion of India signing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the United Arab Emirates and the economic cooperation trade agreement (ECTA) with Australia.

Sitharaman stressed on “ease of doing business” following the signing of the two agreements with Australia and the UAE, “so that adequate infrastructure and energy is readily available to respective states.”

“To states we have released Rs 50 lakhs as interest-free loans to build infrastructure,” she said.

“States should build infrastructure and tap various forms of energy, including solar energy, so that there is no power shortage,” she added.

“Though I am standing in Tamil Nadu and making this comment, I am making this request to all the other states as well,” she said.

To the industrialists present at the venue, she said that, at the time of making investments, the companies should give a thought to tapping various forms of renewable energy in their respective units. “The government is also ready to extend its support if you need,” she said.

Sitharaman said that businesses should come forward and make use of the benefits of the CEPA and the ECTA, so as to further boost trade between the countries.

According to Director General of Foreign Trade Santosh Kumar Sarangi, India is the second largest trading partner for the UAE while the UAE is the third largest trading partner for India.

“The CEPA would propel the two nations (India and the UAE) going forward and this agreement will lead to seamless flow of goods, development between the two countries,” he said. (PTI)