With the electrification of Leisang village in the Senapati district of Manipur, India has now achieved total electrification of its 597,464 inhabited villages.
Though the success of DDUGJY sounds like a significant milestone for the country, it does not give a clear picture on universal electricity access. A village is considered electrified as soon as 10 percent of the total number of households in the village have been electrified. It also includes public institutions such as schools, the panchayat office, health centres, dispensaries, and community centres.
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), a flagship programme of the Ministry of Power, was launched to facilitate universal energy access in July of 2015. State run Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) was the nodal agency appointed for executing the scheme.
Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech on August 15, 2015, had announced that all the unelectrified villages will have access to electricity within 1,000 days. There were 18,452 un-electrified census villages at the time the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power in 2014.
A rural electrification program has been under implementation since 2005. With the aim to electrify every village in India and give free electricity connection to every BPL family, Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) was launched by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The program was later included in the DDUGJY.
This announcement is largely symbolic and does not mean that 100% of the rural households have electricity.
A better metric to measure universal electricity access would be the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA). Under this program, electrification is measured by its reach to every household, in comparison to every village under DDUGJY.
As reported previously by Mercom, Meghalaya has become the latest state to become a participant of SAUBHAGYA. Meghalaya became the fifth state after Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, and Jammu and Kashmir to join the SAUBHAGYA program. In Meghalaya, there are 139,267 unelectrified households as of today.
SAUBHAGYA data shows that 3,13,65,992 households are yet to be electrified. States like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, and Punjab have already achieved 100 percent household electrification. Jharkhand is the least electrified state with only 48 percent of homes with electricity, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 56 percent of households with electricity.
The government aims to electrify all households by December 2018.
Image credit: Narendra Modi Twitter
Nitin is a staff reporter at Mercomindia.com and writes on renewable energy and related sectors. Prior to Mercom, Nitin has worked for CNN IBN, India News, Agricultural Spectrum and Bureaucracy Today. He received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University and Master’s degree in International Relations from Jindal School of International Affairs. More articles from Nitin Kabeer