100 % village electrification – A critical analysis


Centre government has announced that the country has achieved 100% of village electrification.

Then and Now

  • At the time of India’s Independence only 0.5% of India’s villages were electrified. It is contrary to most developed country which completed their electrification in 1950s.
  • In Constituent Assembly debate K. Santhanam, a member of the Constituent Assembly, called India a ‘virgin field for electrification’.
  • To achieve rapid pace of electrification, electricity was put in concurrent list of the Constitution enabling the State Governments and the Union territories as well as the Central Government to formulate policy.
  • Over the year government has taken various measures to improve electrification.

Important Government initiatives on Rural electrification

  1. In 1969 government of India formed the Rural Electrification Corporation to provide electricity in rural areas
  2. Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) launched in April 2005 with the aim for creation of Rural Electricity Infrastructure & Household Electrification for providing access to electricity to rural households.
  3. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) launched in July 2015 with the aim for rural electrification
  • It focuses on feeder separation (rural households & agricultural) and strengthening of sub-transmission & distribution infrastructure including metering at all levels in rural areas.
  • It will help in providing 24×7 power to rural households and adequate power to agricultural consumers.
  1. In 2017 centre launched Saubhagya scheme ( Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana )
  • The objective of the scheme is to provide last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all households in rural and urban areas.
  • To achieve universal household electrification in the country.
  • The States and Union Territories are required to complete the works of household electrification by the 31st of December 2018.
  • The beneficiaries for free electricity connections would be identified using Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data.
  • The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) will remain the nodal agency for the operationalisation of the scheme throughout the country.
  • For easy & accelerated implementation of the Scheme, modern technology shall be used for household survey by using Mobile App.

Definition of electification

An electrified village is defined as one that has the following

  • Provision of basic infrastructure such as distribution transformers and lines in the inhabited locality,
  • Provision of electricity in public places like schools, panchayat office, health centers, dispensaries, and community centers, and
  • At least 10% of the total number of households in the village is electrified.

Critical Analysis

  • problem with the definition
    • 100% of village electrification does not mean each house hold have access to electricity.
  • Regional imbalance
    • There is regional imbalance in electricity access among the states.
  • Seven States viz. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh account for 90% of un-electrified households. There is a clear direct relationship between economic prosperity and access to electricity.
  • Inequal level of developments among states is a major challenge for achieving universal access to electricity.
  • Quantity and quality
    • A significant portion of connected rural households is yet to get adequate quantity and quality of supply.
  • Lack of last mile grid connectivity
    • Million rural households and urban households are still to be connected to the grid.

Challenges in electrification

  • Dependence on coal
    • 60% of country’s electricity requirement dependent on coal
    • Production coal remains stagnating possess a serious challenge.
  • Discom issues
    • Electricity distribution companies (discoms) in several state are highly indebted is a serious concern. ( UDAY scheme)
  • Many states want to renegotiate Power Purchase Agreement
  • Power purchase agreement defines all the commercial terms for the sale of electricity between the two parties.
  • Some states have imposed significant barriers to Open Access policy
  • Open access policy is a step towards discovering a single market price for power around the country.
  • Subsidy issues
    • Existing subsidized tariffs in several States is unaffordable for the people.
  • Transmission & Distribution issues
    • The distribution network capacity in several States is inadequate to carry available electricity.
    • The distribution infrastructure is overburdened resulting in frequent breakdowns.
    • Transmission & Distribution loss
    • Delivering uninterrupted power supply to every household.

Way forward

  • Central and state Government should formulate an investment policy to generate the required capital for electricity sector.
  • ECINOMIC SURVEY 2016 suggests
  • to create ‘one market’ in power
  • long overdue reforms of discoms
  • Energizing the development of the renewable sector.
  • Timely up gradations in transmission and distribution networks is need of the hour.
  • Government should encourage startups to invest in improving rural electrification. (Sahrukh khan in Swadesh)
  • 75th anniversary of Indian independence in 2022 has been earmarked for achieving ‘24×7 Power for All’ will need holistic strategy to make it success.
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