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Rural Electrification: An overview

Context

  • On 28th of April 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that all villages in the country have now access to electricity.

Background:

  • According to Central Electricity Authority (CEA), a village is considered electrified only if the Gram Panchayat certifies that the basic infrastructure has been provided to the inhabited area, including Dalit hamlets, and 10% of the households are electrified.
  • The last village to be brought on the national power grid was Leisang village in the Senapati district of Manipur.

Rural Electrification in India

  • Rural electrification is considered to be the backbone of the rural economy.
  • The electricity generation capacity in India is the fifth largest in the world.
  • India is the sixth largest consumer of electricity and accounts for 3.4 percent of the global energy consumption.

Rural electrification has five major facets:

  • Setting up of Rural Electricity Infrastructure
  • Providing connectivity to households
  • Adequate supply of desired quality of power
  • Supply of electricity at affordable rates
  • Providing clean, environmentally benign and sustainable power in efficient way.

Rural Electrification provides for:

  • Increase in agriculture yield.
  • Business of Small and household enterprises shall grow resulting into new avenues for employment.
  • Improvement in Health, Education, Banking (ATM) services.
  • Improvement in accessibility to radio, telephone, television, internet and mobile.
  • Betterment in social security due to availability of electricity.
  • Accessibility of electricity to schools, panchayats, hospitals and police stations.
  • Rural areas shall get increased opportunities for comprehensive development.

Energy source and Percentage Share in installed capacity

Thermal  – 64.75%

Nuclear  – 2.78%

Hydro –  21.73%

Other renewable energy sources – 10.73%

Government initiative/programme for Rural Electrification

  • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)
  • Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana –“Saubhagya”

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)

  • Launched in 2015.
  • The DDUGJY is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Power.
  • The earlier scheme for rural electrification viz. Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) has been subsumed in Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.

Salient features of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana

  • To provide electrification to all villages. It will facilitate 24×7 supply of power.
  • Feeder separation to ensure sufficient power to farmers and regular supply to other consumers.
  • Improvement of Sub-transmission and distribution network to improve the quality and reliability of the supply.
  • Metering at all levels (input points, feeders and distribution transformers.
  • Micro grid and off grid distribution network & Rural electrification- already sanctioned projects under RGGVY to be completed.

Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana –“Saubhagya”

  • Launched in 2017.
  • It will provide the required financial assistance for strengthening and improvement of infrastructure in the power sector.
  • Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, or Saubhagya, to ensure electrification of all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas.

Salient features of Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana –“Saubhagya”

  • To ensure electrification of all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas.
  • The beneficiaries for free electricity connections would be identified using Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data.
  • The solar power packs of 200 to 300 WP with battery bank for un-electrified households located in remote and inaccessible areas, comprises of Five LED lights, One DC fan, One DC power plug. It also includes the Repair and Maintenance (R&M) for 5 years.

The outcome of the Scheme is as follows:

  • Environmental upgradation by substitution of Kerosene for lighting purposes
  • Improvement education services
  • Better health services
  • Enhanced connectivity through radio, television, mobiles, etc.
  • Increased economic activities and jobs
  • Improved quality of life especially for women

Way forward

  • Access to electricity is a cornerstone to the development of and essential for better quality of life for rural India. Government need to outline a holistic approach to Rural Electrification.
  • Use information technology to monitor metering at feeder and distribution transformer levels to allow proper auditing of power supply.
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