New Delhi: COVID-19 pandemic has led to major economic disruptions across the globe; it’s time for India-Nepal to further accelerate its economic cooperation with the “hydroelectricity” as one of the decisive factors. Under aegis of its India-Nepal Centre/SDC and in association with the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), Nepal SBI Bank Ltd (NSBL) and NHPC Ltd, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) hosted a webinar on “Exploring Hydroelectricity Potential in Nepal”. Considering the recent political developments between two countries, the initiative was seen an important one by the key observers of India-Nepal bilateral relations.
Sushil Bhatta, Member, National Planning Commission (NPC), Nepal as “Chief Guest” dwelt on the theme and stressed on need for having more joint efforts for ensuring economic rebounding in both Nepal and India, said that we are going through critical were lives and livelihood is affected. He said, “Our key concern and focus is on how to ensure lives are safe and, the supply chain for goods and services is maintained.” We would be focusing on economic recovery activities that will be the new normal, with additional focus on rebounding and capitalizing on our strengths; accelerating our economy towards prosperity and justice to people, added Bhatta.
He also shared that “We have recently formulated the 15th periodic plan for 5 years. Our forecast for the projection of relaxation of plan period after 3 years is around 5,000 MW and we have installed capacity of 300+ MW including standalone projects related to grid and other projects. Energy and Hydropower are regarded as a transforming driver for accelerating our growth. We need to ensure proper hydropower mix is being maintained. We need to foster FDI, TPP, and many others. We need to develop a framework for TPP and create proper guidelines and a transparent system. We will be needs institutions, policies, processes, SOPs, and guidelines.”
The “Guest of Honour” Dr. Ram Prasad Dhital, Member, Electricity Regulation Commission (NEC), Nepal gave a detailed presentation on the “Business and Investment Opportunities in Nepal’s Hydroelectricity Sector” and gave an overview of the current state of electricity, key hurdles, and expectation. He deliberated about the various reforms for opportunities in terms of legal reforms, regulatory reports, and policy and institutional reforms. He highlighted the need for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that will pave a path towards the faster development of Hydroelectricity in the country.
He also reflected on the growing need to promote the infrastructure of electricity-based transport and cooking in Nepal to enhance the demand of electricity as clean option. He talked about the government’s aim to generate 15,000 MW of electricity in the next eight years (by 2028) and making electricity adequate, affordable, and reliable for all by 2030.
Discussing the expectations, he mentioned a level playing field for all electricity operators, with one-stop service, a simplified process of approvals with easy entry and exit that will lead to an efficient mechanism for dispute resolution and proper coordination.
Y K Chaubey, Director (Technical), NHPC Ltd and V K Maini, Executive Director, NHPC Ltd gave an insightful presentation on “Exploring Hydroelectricity Potential in Nepal,” giving a detailed deliberation about the Energy Scenario in India and Nepal respectively. They discussed the emerging regional scenario that included factors like Global Warming, United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) Goals, Grid Issues, and Paradigm Shift. They deliberated about the enablers for regional co-operation that included Government of India Hydro Measures; Geographical and Cultural Proximity and, Systemic Enablers that will lead to the opportunities of the Entire Region as One Grid aiding to smooth slow of Hydroelectricity. They also discussed the recent initiatives undertaken by NHPC in Nepal that will help in tapping Hydro potential in Nepal.
Anukool Bhatnagar, MD & CEO, Nepal SBI Bank Ltd (NSBL) gave a financial perspective on “Exploring Hydroelectricity Potential in Nepal” and discussed the different sources of funds, government investments, and Banks and Financial Institution projects that will help in boosting the potential of Hydroelectricity in Nepal in the present and future times.
Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, Executive Chairman, Hydro Solutions Pvt Ltd & Chairman, CNI Energy Development Council while sharing his views discussed that Hydropower is not an option but a compulsion for water, energy, and food security. He discussed that in these present times of global warming and limited resources, Hydropower is the best solution. He further deliberated about the potential of Hydro and Solar that are complementary resources to each other and shared insights of the energy solutions including electric buses and many more lauding the effort of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Among others who attended the webinar include Vishnu Kumar Agrawal, Sr VP, CNI; Birendra Raj Pandey, Vice President, CNI; Deepak Rauniyar, MD, BKSHCL; Bishal Thapa, MD, Saral Urja Pvt Ltd; Praveena Kala, Director, Paramount Cables Pvt Ltd & Ex-Banker (Former CGM-SBI) and Atul K Thakur, Nodal Coordinator, India-Nepal Centre, PHDCCI.
In his address, Sanjay Aggarwal, Senior Vice President, PHDCCI mentioned how deep-rooted is the relationship of India and Nepal. He highlighted about the support MSMEs needed to rebound the economies of India and Nepal that have been badly affected due to the global pandemic. India needs to be a strong partner in economic progress and well for Nepal and vis-a-vise. Hydroelectricity is an ideal platform for cooperation and mutual advantage for both the country. Pradeep Multani, Vice President, PHDCCI apprised the relationship shared between India and Nepal. He assured that PHDCCI’s India-Nepal Centre will remain in full solidarity to foster the relations of India and Nepal and, support is every possible way.
As the Co-Chair Nirvana Chaudhary, Chairman, India-Nepal Centre (Nepal); VP, CNI; MD, Chaudhary Group moderated the session and highlighted the importance of strengthening the bilateral economic relations between India and Nepal which are possible with creating new opportunities in this sector. He said that he is quite sanguine about the bright possibilities, and with the deeper government-industry interface, India and Nepal will make new growth momentums.
The session Chair, Amb K V Rajan, Chairman, India-Nepal Centre, PHDCCI said that things are falling in place in policy and regulatory framework in Nepal. We are optimistic that Nepal will be the battery of South Asia in the future and, we can grow together. He said that the India-Nepal Centre will continue to play a constructive role in creating and maintaining smooth environment for economic cooperation between two countries.
Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary-General, PHDCCI summed the deliberations in his concluding remarks and assured the policy-makers about the continued support of India-Nepal Centre for scripting new positive chapters in economic cooperation. He shared about the journey of PHDCCI’s Nepal initiatives and what more are in pipeline for making India-Nepal economic ties, the most decisive factors for the deeper regional and sub-regional economic cooperation.