Central power sector undertakings (CPSUs) and states have been told not to import any power system from China and Pakistan.
The order was issued at a meeting conducted by union minister of state for power RK Singh with state power ministers on Friday.
Singh said the order comes following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat that calls for all equipment – both the final product and the raw materials required to manufacture it – should be procured domestically. ”We manufacture everything required by the power sector. Despite that, in 2018-19, there was import worth Rs 71,000 crore of which Rs 20,000 crore was from China alone,” said Singh.
Singh further stated that he held a meeting with CPSUs and developers on June 16 where they were told the same. “We cannot tolerate a country that transgresses in our territory, kills our soldiers, and yet we create jobs for them and not for us,” he reportedly said during that meeting. Singh reiterated that there will not be any import of power system equipment from China and Pakistan. ”If CPSUs and states want any import from these countries, the power ministry, permission is needed which will not be granted,” he clarified.
Singh further said that there will be laboratory tests of imported equipment to ensure that there is no cyberattack.
The Ministry said the order was necessary because ”The power supply system is a sensitive and critical infrastructure that supports not only our national defence, vital emergency services including health, disaster response, critical national infrastructure including classified data & communication services, defence installations and manufacturing establishments, logistics services but also the entire economy and the day-today life of the citizens of the country. Any danger or threat to power supply system can have catastrophic effects and has the potential to cripple the entire country.” This is important as the power sector is a strategic and critical sector.”The vulnerabilities in the power supply system & network mainly arise out of the possibilities of cyberattacks through malware / Trojans embedded in imported equipment,” the ministry said in its order. It reiterated that it has issued the order to protect the security, integrity and reliability of the strategically important and power supply system and network in the country.
“The government has already imposed safeguard duty to curb import of Chinese equipment in the renewable energy sector. From August 1, the Centre will impose 25 per cent customs duty which will be increased to 40 per cent next year to further discourage these imports from China,” he said.