Written by Vidisha Mathur
The Electricity Amendment Bill of 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha on Monday, amidst unwavering contempt against it. The bill enables the entry of private organizations into the power distribution business and has been referred to the parliamentary standing committee.
The opposition parties, namely Congress, Left Party, TMC, and DMK claimed that the bill violated the principles of federalism as given in our constitution and permitted the haphazard privatization of the power industry, whilst bypassing the opinion of the state; which is owed considering that power is on the concurrent list.
R.K. Singh, the power minister accused the opposition of spreading false propaganda to confuse the public. He observed that the Bill had been referred to the parliamentary panel wherein such discussions could occur. It was contended that the bill does not affect the subsidies given to the farmers and they would still be ensured free electricity and that the provisions allowing multiple licenses in one place were present in the Parent law of 2003 as well. The government insisted that the states had been included and the decision was prop-people and to the benefit of the farmers.
This bill quite closely follows the Samyukta Kisan Morcha which strongly opposed the introduction of this bill and claimed that no discussions had taken place including any farmers or other stakeholders in at least the past 8 months. Congress flagged this concern, reiterating the government’s promise to the SKM.
The opposition observed that the bill frustrates the object of the act and intends to amend the constitution through statute and well beyond the competence of the parliament.
BJD was the only party to appear conciliatory to the bill, as its part MP Pinaki Mishra stated that the bill had been referred to the standing committee and will be discussed at length there.
Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla insisted that the members of parliament focus on the law, rather than flamboyant speeches.