Lok Sabha Chairman Om Birla has given the committee three months to discuss the bill and finalize a report on it, ruling out the possibility of bringing it up in the upcoming winter session, which is scheduled to start from December 7.
Sources familiar with the developments said the committee is likely to meet regularly during the winter session to expedite discussions on the bill, so that the report on it can be completed by the time the budget session begins by the end of January.
Sources said that during Thursday’s meeting, of the 14 MPs who participated, nine were from the opposition, who sought discussions with state electricity boards and state electricity departments about the bill.
Opposition MPs opposed several provisions of the law that they claimed usurped states’ rights.
Standing Committee Chair, BJP member Jagdambika Pal told the members that earlier in 2014, the Electricity Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha was introduced but not passed and was voided, so efforts should be made to allow meaningful discussion on that, informed sources. .
The meeting, which took place on Thursday, was attended by Energy Minister Alok Kumar and other ministry officials.
The bill seeks to facilitate the use of distribution networks by any entity that obtains a distribution license. This will allow consumers to choose the services of any energy supplier from among the many players operating in a given area, just as customers choose mobile networks.
On August 8, when the bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Energy Minister RK Singh, opposition parties led by Congress claimed that wealthy consumers would opt for private distributors over state-owned distribution companies.
They also claimed that the amendments in the legislation would allow private companies to pick and choose profitable distribution networks.
The bill was referred to the parliamentary committee on the same day.
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