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Rural electrification may get Rs1,000 cr

Rural electrification may get Rs1,000 cr

New Delhi: Even though the power ministry has asked for an additional Rs9,000 crore for the government’s rural electrification scheme in the forthcoming budget, it is likely to be allotted only Rs1,000 crore, according to two ministry officials.

The scheme, called the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), has already been allotted Rs6,000 crore in the interim budget.

The development could not be confirmed at the finance ministry as all requests for funds in the budget are confidential till it is presented in Parliament. The budget for 2009-10 is scheduled to be tabled on 6 July.

“There are many limitations to the scheme. Of the overall amount of Rs42,000 crore sought for the scheme, only Rs28,000 crore was sanctioned for the 11th Plan period (2007-12). Of this, we have received around Rs12,500 crore. The gap of Rs14,000 crore needs to be bridged," one of the power ministry officials said.

RGGVY was launched in April 2005 with an aim to provide electricity connections to 23 million poor households in 125,000 villages by 31 March. However, only 6.2 million families have been given power connections in 62,000 villages so far.

The power ministry has said that the entire amount of Rs5,500 crore allotted for the scheme for the fiscal ended 31 March has been utilized.

Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had earlier admitted that RGGVY was facing problems.

“The assessment report (for the scheme) was late, which resulted in the late disbursal of funds by a year. The targets will be achieved by next year," he had told Mint.

However, ministry officials say achieving targets in the current fiscal—providing electricity to 17,500 villages and connecting 4.7 million households—would be a tall task.

“In the current financial year, not even a single disbursal has been made. How do you expect projects, which are yet to start, to be completed within one year?" asked the ministry official. “There has been some slippage in the programme as the continuity in the implementation was lost by delayed approvals," said another power ministry official. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mint had reported on 5 October 2007 about the delayed allocation of funds.

“With so many incentives given by the government such as farm loan waiver, there has to be cut-back in some schemes," said Girish Solanki, a Mumbai-based research analyst at Angel Broking Ltd.

RGGVY is part of India’s ambitious Bharat Nirman project to develop rural infrastructure at an initial project cost of Rs1.76 trillion.

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