Bonds soon to meet power subsidy to agriculture connections

Budgetary allocations do not match the demand The State government’s subsidy bill towards agricultural connections is on the rise during the last four years with the demand for connections increasing significantly. It has to foot a subsidy bill of about Rs. 6,030 crore during the current fiscal. As the budgetary allocations do not match the demand, it is contemplating issuing bonds in near future. The subsidy on the connections was Rs. 3,186 crore during 2014-15, the year of bifurcation. Since then, the subsidy payable as per tariff order of the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) has been increasing. It was Rs. 3,700 crore during the last fiscal, 2017-18. But, there is a quantum jump with the government “clearing a huge number of pending applications” in the last couple of years, officials say. When contacted, Energy Minister Kimidi Kala Venkat Rao said the demand for connections had been increasing by the day. It was very high in districts like Prakasam, Kurnool and Anantapur where farmers were facing drought conditions. For instance, 41,985 applications were received in Anantapur district and 25,476 in Kurnool. Also, there had been an increase in the subsidy to the power supply in the agriculture sector. “As the government has to provide Rs. 6,030 crore subsidy this year, we are planning to issue bonds,” he says. The Andhra Pradesh Power Finance Corporation would pay Rs. 4,000 crore through the budgetary allocation. And the Corporation would have to raise the bonds for the rest. The State government stands guarantee to it. Of the subsidy amount, the APSPDCL would get Rs. 4,937 crore and the APEPDCL Rs. 1,093 core, he says. The government has already given 2,69,303 agriculture connections. The number of connections across the State stands at 17.20 lakh. And, more than 1.79 lakh applications were received so far. Of this, 23,776 services were released and the remaining were being released in a phased manner.

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