State Of The Economy 2012

Dark days ahead

The power sector’s woes, far from improving, are worsening

Sanjit Kundu

When Shivani Sharma moved back to India after a decade in the US a few years ago, the decision about where to stay was, shall we say, a charged one. Sharma was chucking up her career as an investment banker to try her hand at organic farming, but rather than moving closer to her family in Haryana, she opted for a plot in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district. Her reason? Free power. “I had done my homework. Andhra Pradesh had a corporate state electricity board (SEB); it had begun distribution reforms and it had independent power producers. It didn’t seem likely that the state would have to go back on its free power promise, unlike what had happened in other states,” Sharma says. Now, she’s not so sure.