The State Administrative Council (SAC), which met here today under the chairmanship of Governor NN Vohra, approved creation of 187 posts for two dedicated project wings, one each for the Jammu and Kashmir regions, and one Project Management Unit (PMU) at the secretariat level for monitoring and timely completion of power projects.
The creation of the posts is initially for five years. The meeting approved two posts of Chief Engineer, six posts of Superintending Engineer, 14 posts of Executive Engineer, 35 posts of Assistant Executive Engineer (AEEs) and AEs and 54 posts of Junior Engineer and other support staff.
The SAC also approved hiring of manpower (a total of 96 stenographers, junior assistants/data entry operators, drivers and orderlies) from the open market and by outsourcing.
The funds for hiring, operationalisation of the two wings and the PMU will be provided by the Finance Department.
In view of large public investments in the power sector in future and implementation of various flagship programmes, including Centrally sponsored schemes, the creation of the two additional wings and a PMU, to handle new projects in the distribution sector, was considered essential as the personnel of the department were already stretched with their operation and maintenance responsibilities and not geared to handle this size of public investment.
In view of the renewed thrust on the power sector reforms, the Power Development Department (PDD) is mandated to handle huge public expenditure under various flagship programmes like the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme, Integrated Power Development Scheme, Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Programme in the next three years.
The creation of the dedicated project wings is expected to give new impetus to the implementation of the flagship programmes in the power sector.
Power purchase liability
The SAC also approved the proposal for the restructuring of outstanding power purchase liabilities of the PDD through raising of debt by participating in the ‘UDAY’ scheme and floating of bonds by the state government.
The PDD had a revenue deficit of Rs 3913.50 crore in the financial year 2014-15. The outstanding liabilities of the Central Public Sector Undertakings had reached Rs 3,537.55 crore at the end of September 2015 while the total liabilities of power purchases of the state was Rs 6,706.73 crore, including that of Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC). The projected liability ending March 2016 is Rs 6,949 crore.
The interest or surcharge burden on account of these outstanding liabilities will be about Rs 1,250 crore per annum which will be offloaded after outstanding bills of power purchase are liquidated as per the approved restructuring proposal.
The UDAY scheme provides an opportunity to states to restructure their debt by reducing the interest burden on distribution company (state government in case of J&K). The debt taken over by the state under this scheme will not be counted against the fiscal deficit limit of the respective state in the financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17.
The Centre and the state government will enter into a bipartite memorandum of understanding to improve the operational and financial efficiency of the PDD and the process of restructuring will be completed by the end of March 2016 under the UDAY scheme.
Meanwhile, the SAC also directed the constitution of a committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary. The panel comprises administrative secretaries of the Planning, Finance and Power Development Departments. They will examine and work out modalities through which the power purchase liabilities of the JKSPDC can be settled as per the Budget 2015. The committee will submit its report within a month.