Editorial- February 2019

More than 20,000 households of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir have been electrified under Saubhagya. Most of the beneficiaries of the scheme are from BPL and SC/ST category. The scheme has given electricity to those who never saw lights in their life at their homes. They are happy and excited.

The government has connected about 99.81 per cent of households across the country with electricity supply, and hopes to take power lines to the rest by Jan 26, 2019. Barring Rajasthan, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Meghalaya, all states have achieved 100 per cent household electrification.

On Sep 25, 2017, the Modi government had launched ‘Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’ (Saubhagya) to achieve the goal of universal household electrification in the country by Mar 31, 2019. It includes electricity connections to the household premise, installation of energy meter, wiring for a single light point with LED bulb and a mobile charging point.

The Saubhagya dashboard showed that of the 24,870,811 households were identified, 99.81 per cent have been energized, while 0.19 per cent, or 401,398, households are remaining in four states – Rajasthan, Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Meghalaya. On an average, about seven lakh houses were being energized every week. Now, the newly connected households will get translated into growth in power demand within a year with the release of pent up and fresh demand from rural areas.

The scheme is being funded to the extent of 60 per cent by central grants, 30 per cent by bank loans and 10 per cent by states. The states that completed the scheme by Dec 31, 2018 would be given an additional 15 per cent grant by the centre as incentive.

The central government has set several milestones for its rural electrification plan since Modi came to power in 2014 – bringing connections to all villages by May 1, then to all homes by the end Dec 2018. After full electrification is achieved, the next goal will be to ensure reliable uninterrupted supplies by Mar 31, 2019.