Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

Government plans mega show to highlight electrification success

Representatives from several villages that have got electricity recently may be invited for the event

New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government plans to hold a mega show to celebrate electricity access to all villages in India.

Representatives from several villages that have got electricity recently may be invited for the event. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to attend the meeting, two government officials aware of the development said.

This comes in the backdrop of the last Indian village getting electrified under the marque Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY). While the initial plan under the scheme was to cover 18,452 un-electrified census villages, an additional 1,275 villages that also didn’t have electricity access were added to the list, to take the final tally to 19,727 villages. According to government data, all of India’s 597,464 census villages have now been electrified.

“There will be a big function. The location has not been decided and can be either one of the states or the national capital. Representatives from these 19,000 odd villages will come, with the PM also expected to attend," a government official aware of the plans said, requesting anonymity.

In his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2015, Modi had promised to electrify all un-electrified villages within 1,000 days. The target was achieved on 28 April, with several days still left to spare. According to the contours of the Rs75,893 crore DDUGJY, the grant component provided by the Union government was Rs63,000 crore.

Another government official aware of the proposed plans in the works, who also didn’t wish to be named, said, “While a function to mark this momentous occasion is being worked upon, no final decision has been taken."

Aimed at providing round-the-clock power to rural households and adequate power to agricultural consumers, the DDUGJY involved feeder separation, strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network, metering at all levels, village electrification, and setting up micro grid and off grid distribution networks.

Queries emailed to the spokespersons for the power ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office weren’t immediately answered.

Measures such as feeder separation for rural agricultural and village households will help stem the load shedding practice of distribution utilities and is expected to bring benefits such as improved agriculture yield and socio-economic development of the rural areas.

Experts termed taking electricity to all Indian villages a big step toward achieving universal electricity access. This will be done by leveraging Saubhagya.

“The potential benefits it can unleash in the socio-economic milieu of this country is humongous in the existing context of a young populace with availability of digital backbone and information availability. It can significantly improve human development index and make citizens empowered, healthier and better financially. We can now truly reap the dividends of a young country," said Sambitosh Mohapatra, partner, advisory, power and utilities, PwC India.

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