New Delhi: Once again showing his commitment to deliver on the poll promise of electricity for all, Narendra Modi has launched a Rs 16,320 crore scheme to fund the cost of last-mile connectivity to households that are still not on the power grid.
The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, or Saubhagya, complements the government’s aggressive village electrification programme, the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana launched in July 2015, under which 78% of 18,000 villages have been electrified.
Point to be noted here is that improving energy consumption, a key development metric, is a priority for the government as it will also help in improving the lives of women.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Ujjwala Yojana for providing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to poor households, launched in May 2016, has covered 30 million families so far. Modi also urged state-owned explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd to encourage innovation in electric stoves, which will increase electricity consumption.
“This bold move will electorally benefit the NDA in a big way. Consumer information available from databases such as Aadhaar will aid in implementing such welfare schemes in a targeted manner,” said Jai Mrug, a Mumbai-based political analyst.
“Every house, whether in village, town or in a remote area, will get electricity. No poor person will have to pay anything for it. Officials will approach villages and offer services,” the prime minister said at the launch organized at the new office of ONGC, named after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. Modi said that out of 250 million households in the country, 50 million still have no access to electricity.