In order to discuss and review the numerous initiatives undertaken by the government for increasing electricity access across the country, the Minister for Power, R. K. Singh, recently chaired a Review Planning and Monitoring (RPM) meeting with the secretaries of power, energy departments of the states and union territories, and managing directors of the power utilities in the national capital.
The meeting discussed the progress of work under Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna (SAUBHAGYA), Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY).
This was the first RPM meeting since the government’s announcement of achieving 100 percent village electrification. In April 2018, with the electrification of Leisang village in the Senapati district of Manipur, the government had announced that India has now achieved total electrification of its 597,464 inhabited villages.
Singh congratulated all states for achieving 100 percent village electrification and urged them to work further for universal household electrification under SAUBHAGYA.
Mercom previously reported, that though complete village electrification 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 centers, dispensaries, and community centers.
SAUBHAGYA data show that 31,245,155 households are yet to be electrified in the country. 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 58 percent of homes with electricity, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 63 percent of households with electricity.
Singh assured the states of all possible support for universal household electrification and asked the state officials to give suggestions on the revised draft of tariff policy, keeping in mind the long-term health of the sector. Singh said that draft on amendments to Electricity Act will also be circulated soon.
In the meeting, discussions were held on various aspects of the rural electrification such as the availability of trained manpower and materials, the incoming monsoon, and the tendering process at the local level. Representatives of the states and union territories shared their experiences and best practices, and expressed their commitment to work towards universal household electrification.