Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a Rs 16,000-crore scheme to provide free electricity connections to over 4 crore poor families in villages and cities. No poor person will have to pay for an electricity connection under the scheme that will be largely funded by the Centre, he said.
The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or ‘Saubhagya’ (good fortune) will bring a monumental change in the lives of the poor,” Modi said, while regretting that even after 70 years of Independence, 4 crore out of the 25 crore families in the country do not have access to power.
The scheme will turn around the fortunes of such families, he said, adding that the nation is moving from a scenario of power shortage to surplus. The scheme might prove to be a game-changer ahead of the state and general elections, as the PM said its cost will not be passed on to the poor.
The PM said that the government is working on six basic principles of providing easy, affordable, clean, well-planned, safe and secure electricity to people. The announcement was made at a function following the BJP’s national executive meeting where the PM said the country came before the party.
“New India will not only have power in all villages but in every home,” he said. The poor used to struggle to get power, but now the government will go to their homes to give them electricity, he said.
The government proposes to 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 May 1, 2018.
Beneficiaries for free electricity connections would be identified using Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data. However, non-electrified 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 bill.
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 also wants to achieve 24X7 power for all by March, 2019.
In 2015, PM Modi had announced to electrify the remaining 18,452 non-electrified villages in 1,000 days in his Independence Day speech. However, the Power Ministry is expected to electrify all habited villages by December this year. A total of 14,483 villages have been electrified so far. The electrification work is in progress on 2,981 villages while 988 villages are uninhabited.
- 4 cr poor families in villages and cities will get free power connections
- Scheme will be largely funded by the Centre
- Its cost will not be passed on to the poor
- Govt proposes to provide electricity to all households by December 2018
- All villages would be electrified by December this year
—With PTI inputs