Delhi residents to lose all 'freebies' on electricity bills

In a complete negation of Delhi's 'retired hurt' chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's promise to halve electricity bills or his predecessor Sheila Dikshit's announcement of a subsidy for lower-end consumers, residents of the city-state will have to pay their power bills in full from April, without any concessions.

The subsidies announced so far will cease to be operational from the new financial year, as there is no provision for such subsidies in the interim budget for 2014-15 approved by Parliament on Friday.

On 31 December 2013, Kejriwal had slashed electricity rates by 50 per cent for consumption of up to 400 units. The Congress government had also been subsidising the first two slabs of 0-200 units and 201-400 units. The Delhi cabinet had approved the subsidy for the January-March quarter.

The state government had also prepared an estimate of Rs669 crore for power subsidy in the April-September period, but this did not figure in the 'vote on account' approved by Parliament. Thus all subsidies will lapse until and unless the next government after the May election ratifies them.

Minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena made it clear that no allocation has been made in the current budget for subsidies announced by the previous government, news agencies reported .

"That is not part of this budget," he said in response to a clarification sought by Bharatiya Janata Party member Ravi Shankar Prasad on the subsidy issue.