How many schemes does it take to light up a sky?
Neither Ujala programme nor Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana offer any compelling explanation for the sudden spike in brightness of India's night-time light satellite images
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the launch of the power for all scheme, Saubhagya (which promises electrification of all households), presented India’s night-time light (NTL) satellite images for 2012 and 2016 released by the US space agency Nasa recently. NTL images capture light resulting from human activity that is reflected to the outer space at night. In the absence of reliable and granular datasets, recent research indicates that NTL is a powerful tool for economists and a good proxy for urbanization, electricity consumption, and economic activity. As proof of his previous ministry’s progress, Piyush Goyal also shared the two images on social media—contrasting a relatively dark India in 2012, with a well-illuminated satellite image from 2016. Attributing this to the success of the power ministry in the last three years is a fair assumption to make. Which programme’s success could be reflecting in the satellite data?