Against the Current – Organizational Restructuring of State Electricity Boards

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On paper, State Electricity Boards in India, are supposed to provide electricity to a billion people accross the country. In reality, however, what they provide to the consumers are poor quality power and endless power cuts. Besides, they are forever incurring losses and are thus a burden on State exchequers. We are told that this is only due to their ‘politicization’ and ‘inefficiency’. But is that the whole truth?

This book brings together ten specialists, with different ‘ideological’ backgrounds, who examine the issue of privatization of SEBs and argue that this is not the only solution to the problem The contributors have a deep familiarity of the SEBs’ workings at all levels -from the meter reader to the higher echelons of the bureaucraty. And it is this intimate knowledge which the contributors have utilized to suggest key aspects of reforms of SEBs.

The book explains in detail how ‘de-politicization’ is not an issue in itself. On the contrary the book shows how SEBs can first be managed and then reformed. It goes on to examine the issue from different perspectives and then reveals what people within the system know about ‘inefficiency’, and what they don’t; what they can decide, and what they can’t; what they actually do, and what they don’t. In short, it proposes a journey through the organizations to which hundreds of million Indians stand connected,. day and night, through a maze of electric networks. The book thus not only raises issues but primarily suggests possible solutions

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