New Delhi: All households in 15 Indian states have electricity connection, power minister Raj Kumar Singh said on Thursday.
“8 States have achieved 100% saturation in household electrification under Saubhagya namely Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Bihar, J&K, Mizoram, Sikkim, Telangana and West Bengal. Thus total 15 States in the country now have 100 % household electrification," said Singh according to a power ministry statement.
This comes in the backdrop of the 17th general election due early next year as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) proposes to showcase its success to reach 24x7 power to all in the country.
The government had set a target to achieve universal household electrification by 31 March 2019. With electricity reaching all 597,464 census villages in May, the government’s focus is now on providing electricity connections under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya).
Under the scheme, all willing households will be charged ₹ 500 for the connection, wherein the respective distribution company will recover it in 10 equal instalments. According to the contours of the scheme, a service cable is drawn from the nearest electricity pole to the household premise where an electricity meter is installed along with the wiring for a single light point with LED bulb and a mobile charging point.
“Achievement of 100% household electrification in the country would be a major milestone in the direction to achieve 24x7 power for all. The Government is committed to ensure 24x7 access to electricity for all by 31st March 2019," Singh added in the statement.
The ₹ 16,320 crore Saubhagya is expected to increase India’s electricity demand, with the centre setting a December 2018 deadline to provide electricity connections to more than 30 million rural and urban households. With around 100,000 homes getting electricity access every day under the Saubhagya scheme, 21 million connections have been released so far.
By providing universal access to electricity under the scheme, the government plans to leverage the same to promote induction cooking, heating and charging electric vehicles, apart from the initial target of providing lighting.
Mint reported on 28 August about the NDA government working on an ambitious plan to provide induction stoves to poor households in rural and urban India.
Any substitution of fuels for cooking, transportation and heating will improve India’s per capita power consumption of around 1,200 kWh which is among the lowest in the world. The scheme will also help India, the world’s third largest energy consumer after the US and China, to help meet its global climate change commitments.
According to the government, the Saubhagya scheme will require an additional 28,000 megawatt (MW) of power, considering an average load of 1 kilowatt (kW) per household for eight hours in a day.
According to the statement those states completing 100% household electrification by 31st December will also receive additional grant of 15% of the project cost sanctioned under Saubhagya. Also, an award scheme has been started wherein the electricity distribution company or a power department that completes 100% household electrification will get a ₹ 50 lakh cash award for the employees and ₹ 100 crore grant for distribution infrastructure.