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Narendra Modi launches 'Saubhagya' scheme; promises complete electrification of India by December 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched the 'Saubhagya' scheme under the 'Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana' on the occasion of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay's birth centenary. Modi promised complete electrification in the country, saying an amount of Rs 16,000 crore has been allocated to bring about a monumental change in the lives of the poor. He began by saying no other government has thought as much about the poor as the BJP has.

"We are the first govt to open bank accounts for 15 crore Indians," said Narendra Modi, elaborating how they launched the maximum number of schemes on the poor. He said 70 years after Independence, four crore families are still living without electricity in the country. However, he said, when he came to power, he had promised electricity in 18,000 villages and now less than 3,000 are remaining.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BJP National Executive meet in New Delhi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BJP National Executive meet in New Delhi. PTI

"We have taken multi-dimensional steps which have helped us in achieving electricity surplus," said Modi.

The BJP government has ensured that no poor family has to pay for electric connections, which would not have been possible without the Saubhagya scheme.

Highlighting the plight of poor people in villages of the country, Modi spoke of children who have to study in candlelight, of women who consume polluted gas in the kitchen.

Under the scheme, he said, the government will provide electricity to all households by December 2018, ahead of the earlier target of March 2019. All villages would be electrified by December this year, ahead of the scheduled deadline of 1 May, 2018.

"This is a reflection of working style and will-power," Modi said, adding that power connections will be provided free of cost to all poor families under the scheme. He said that there used to be breaking news regarding power outages due to shortage of coal to power plants, but the situation has now changed, and the nation is moving from a scenario of power shortage to surplus.

He said solar power tariff has dipped to Rs 2.44 per unit and further enlists the benefit of using LED bulbs in households saving Rs 13,700 crore annually. He also called upon ONGC to use its Rs 100 crore start-up funds to develop user-friendly electric cooking appliances, saying it would help in reducing fuel consumption.

According to an official statement, the total outlay of the Saubhagya project is Rs 16,320 crore while the Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) is Rs 12,320 crore. The outlay for rural households is Rs 14,025 crore while GBS is Rs 10,587.50 crore. For urban households, the outlay is Rs 2,295 crore while GBS is Rs 1,732.50 crore.

The Centre will largely provide funds for the scheme to all states and Union territories. Modi further spoke of how power backup has increased seven times and slowly inching towards one nation, one grid and one price aim of New India.

He concluded his speech by saying how equity, sustainability and efficiency are important markers for New India and a clean energy-saving future.

The beneficiaries for free electricity connections would be identified using Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data, the BJP said. However, it added that unelectrified households not covered under the SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs 500, which shall be recovered by DISCOMs in 10 instalments through electricity bills.

The solar power packs of 200 to 300 Wp with battery banks for un-electrified households located in remote and inaccessible areas, comprises five LED lights, one DC fan, one DC power plug. Beneficiaries of the Saubhagya scheme shall be identified and their applications for electricity connections along with applicant photographs and identity proof shall be registered on the spot.

The gram panchayat/public institutions in rural areas may be authorised to collect application forms along with complete documentation, distribute bills and collect revenue in consultation with the Panchayat Raj institutions and urban local bodies.

The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) will remain the nodal agency for the operationalisation of the scheme throughout the country.

The government has been working hard to electrify all villages in the country and would want to achieve 24X7 power for all by March 2019, the statement said.

In 2015, the prime minister had announced to electrify the remaining 18,452 unelectrified villages within 1,000 days in his Independence Day speech. However, the power ministry is expected to electrify all habited villages by December this year.

According to GARV portal, out of the 18,452 villages, 14,483 villages have been electrified so far. The electrification work is in progress on 2,981 villages while 988 villages are uninhabited.

The portal also indicated that out of the 17.92 crore households in rural areas, 13.87 crore families have electricity connections. As many as 4.05 crore families are yet to be get them.

With inputs from PTI

 


Published Date: Sep 25, 2017 21:20 PM | Updated Date: Sep 25, 2017 21:24 PM

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