<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="450"><tbody><tr><td class="headline"> Cabinet approves 'subsidy' on power thefts</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news"> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="450"> <tbody><tr> <td class="news">
Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">
Those who pay their electricity bills do not deserve subsidies from the Government. Subsidies for power tarrif would, however, be given in areas notorious for electricity theft .
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">In a move to encourage power theft, the Delhi Government has decided to give subsidy to consumers of slum areas. It seems that the Congress ruled Delhi Government has gone into poll mode with Assembly election due next year and the possibility of mid-term Lok Sabha polls looming on the horizon.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">Keeping in view its traditional vote bank, the Delhi Cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to give a rebate of Rs 1 per unit for electricity consumed for domestic use.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">The rebate would be applicable to JJ clusters, SC\ST consumers, Harijan colonies, and agricultural consumers and plotted consumers of villages. According to sources, at least 30 per cent electricity is being stolen by slum areas. There are 47 per cent consumers who consume 150 units a month.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">"The decision was taken to appease those people who are traditionally Congress supporters in Delhi," said a Delhi Government Minister on condition of anonymity.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">According to the Cabinet note, 47 per cent households, who used up to 150 units a month, would benefit if the Government decided to subsidise power to the poor and economically weaker sections.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">The measure that costs the exchequer Rs 110 crore has come as a bonanza for Delhiites ahead of Diwali.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">After the Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said that the Government would ask Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to create a new slab of up to a 150 units for targeting the subsidy in an effective manner.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">"We will request the DERC to implement the policy soon to support the poor people," Dikshit said. The Chief Minister described this as a historical decision, which would directly benefit around half of the households in the Capital and bring a smile to the faces of the poor and other vulnerable sections of society.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">It would be pertinent to mention that the Finance department of the Delhi Government has objected to the subsidy proposal on the grounds that once it was started it would be very difficult to withdraw in future even if the Government wished to do so.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">"The existence of subsidies on this scale is perhaps the most disconcerting feature of Delhi's finance and if permitted to continue will seriously jeopardise the future sustainability of Government investment and development programme.
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="news" colspan="2" valign="top">To support domestic users consuming up to 100 units a month, the Government should consider providing CFL lamps free of cost to such consumers," the note said.

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