Power demand growing at almost 7 pc:  Power Minister

New Delhi: Amid a deepening slowdown in the economy, power demand has stood out, growing almost 7 per cent on the back of the world's largest new consumer addition programme that has taken electricity to almost every doorstep.

In an interview with PTI, Power Minister R K Singh on Thursday said, "Now, we are at a stage where there is universal access to electricity in India. We have left some houses in Chhattisgarh and some hamlets in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. That has led to this growth in electrical industry sector (manufacturing of equipment)." He also added that those making things such as transformers and conductors got the fillip and are growing at 6.9 per cent. "Our power demand has also grown at 6.7 per cent in the last quarter (April-June) compared to previous quarter." The minister was hopeful that the power demand growth would further rise as the government is in the process of taking steps to boost demand, which include bringing new tariff policy and second version of UDAY scheme for revival of debt-laden power distribution company.

The minister also said, "(Under the Saubhagya scheme), there is a huge expansion of access in the power sector. In the past 17-18 months, we undertook the largest-ever expansion of access in the world. The International Energy Agency is saying this. We added 26.4 million new electricity consumers in one go." India's economic growth dipped to over six-year low of 5 per cent in the April-June quarter. However, the electricity sector showed robust growth. According to the latest data from the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), electricity output grew 8.2 per cent in June compared. The power generation growth was 7.2 per cent in the April-June period in the same period a year ago.

According to the IIP data, the overall industrial production growth was just two per cent in June, while it was 3.6 per cent in April-June. Besides, other sectors such as manufacturing and mining grew at a meagre rate of 3.1 and 3 per cent in the first quarter of this fiscal.

The minister stressed that '24X7 Power for All' is possible as the government is working in that direction and taking necessary steps.

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