In September 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced hundred per cent electrification of all households scheme under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Ghar Yojana’.
Now as per a PTI report, the country is about to achieve universal electrification by January end with 2.44 crore families having received power connections out of the targeted 2.48 crore. An official said that 2.44 crore households had already been energised under the scheme till today.
While four lakh households are still awaiting electricity that will light up their homes, close to 30,000 families are being given electricity connection every single day. Around 16,000 crore was to be incurred to bring this monumental change. The current Modi led government had set December 2018 as the deadline for electrification of all villages also.
On April 28, 2018, Modi announced that his government had achieved this goal ahead of deadline and that all villages in the country now had electricity. This initiative was expected to improve the lives of 230 million.
A village is reportedly considered electrified if 10% of its homes and all public buildings are connected to the grid. Under the Saubhagya scheme, it was decided that electrification of all households shall take place by March 2019. However, the deadline was advanced to December 2018.
The scheme also aimed to provide subsidy on equipment like transformers, meters and wires. As soon as the announcement was made, many people raised doubts regarding many villages not having received electricity. Many even questioned the quality of the power supply being given to them.
In December 2018, IANS had reported that there was one village in Uttar Pradesh that still awaited power lines. Nagla Khushal, which falls under Millwall gram panchayat of Eka block and has around 50 families with a population of over 400, paints a picture of utter neglect.
The sulabh shauchalayas (public toilets) are half-built, water supply doesn’t exist and there is total darkness after sunset, transporting the whole area to the dark ages, activist Omkar Bhardwaj told IANS.
Under the Saubhagya scheme, all villages need to be supplied with electricity 24*7. An official told PTI that the work couldn’t meet the December deadline due to elections in many states. Maoist problems and contractual issues in many states had also hampered the process.
According to the government’s website, out of a total of 2,48,27,002 households 2,46,05,701 had been electrified which makes 99.11% of the total share. 0.89 per cent of households were awaiting the monumental change. The Saubhagya portal statistics showed that Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were the only states that hadn’t achieved the 100 per cent mark with 99.3 per cent and 99.64 per cent electrification respectively.