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India’s energy conundrum

Following the usual pattern of the past several decades, half way into a Plan period the estimates for electricity capacity expansion have been severely downsized from the original level to roughly half of it. The electricity capacity expansion estimates for the Eleventh Plan seem to be suffering the same fate - Kirit Parikh, member (energy), Planning Commission, has recently indicated that against an ambitious target of nearly 80,000 mw, the likely capacity addition in the Eleventh Plan will be about 40,000 mw. This pattern has become so predictable that associated players can almost sit back and relax under the assumption that they would be under no pressure to deliver - a good case in point being the coal industry. Further, shortages in generation are attributed to shortages of coal supplies due to various factors. How can we go so wrong, and consistently so, in our projections?

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