A high-level Parliamentary panel has raised concern over under-achievement of targets under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan or the PM-KUSUM scheme, which was launched in March 2019.
The scheme was envisaged to provide financial support to the farmers for installation of standalone solar pumps, solarisation of existing grid-connected agriculture pumps and also to provide farmers an opportunity to become solar entrepreneurs by installing solar power plants on their barren or fallow agriculture land.
Parliament's standing committee on energy, in its report on the demands for grants for the ministry of new and renewable energy (2023-24), which was presented in Parliament on Tuesday, said that the government needs to make some positive interventions in the form of subsidy and other measures.
Also it has suggested that the ministry should coordinate and hold consultations with states in order to make them prioritise the scheme in the interest of the farmers, particularly small and marginal farmers.
The committee made these observations after it was informed by the new and renewable ministry that targets under different components of the scheme could not be achieved.
"The ministry has stated that the reasons for slow progress under the scheme are increase in prices of solar panels due to imposition of Basic Custom Duty (BCD) and increase in Goods and Services Tax (GST) from 5 per cent to 12 per cent, low demand from states and non-availability of farmers' share of funds," the panel noted.
It has also been furnished by the ministry that under the scheme, for a solar plant of 1 MW, an investment of Rs 4 to Rs 4.5 crore is required, as there is no subsidy and these projects are purely based on commercial viability, the panel said in its report.
In the light of the above facts, the Parliamentary panel has asked the ministry to make the abovementioned interventions to make the PM-KUSUM scheme a success.
The panel further suggested that the ministry should ensure that there is no demand-supply gap in making available the required number of solar pumps for the farmers.
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