AADITYA ANAND M
New Delhi, Sep 26, 2017: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced the “Saubhagya” Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana scheme that aims to provide electricity to all households in rural and urban areas by December 2018.
This scheme, estimated at a cost of Rs. 16,320 crore promises uninterrupted power supply to four crore households which do not have access to electricity. ” Even 70 years after independence, it’s unfortunate that 40 million households still don’t have electricity,” Modi said on Monday evening. “The poor used to have to go around in circles trying to get electricity. Now, the government will go to their homes to give them electricity,” he added.
Modi announced the scheme when he inaugurated ONGC’s new building, Deendayal Urja Bhawan here, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. This scheme will reinforce BJP’s Electricity-for-all target which was advanced from 2019 to 2018. On August 2015, the Prime Minister had set a target of electrifying over 18000 unelectrified villages within 1000 days. “Now less than 3000 villages are left to be electrified,” he said
Modi also said that the nation is moving away from the situation of power shortage to power surplus as power generation had exceeded targets, referring to increase in generation of power through coal and other renewable resources like solar power. “Power backup has also increased seven times and slowly India is inching towards one nation, one grid and one price aim of new India,” he said.
Modi and his advisors hope that this scheme would reduce the usage of kerosene lamps in homes which is a common cause of fire and indoor air pollution. Also, this scheme is expected to give a fillip to Educational Services, Health Services, Communications and Public safety.
The video of Narendra Modi’s speech is attached below:
Ahead of Modi’s announcement Economic Times reported that the shares of Electronic Firms ended high on Monday. Experts say shares of power distribution companies are likely to benefit from the new scheme. According to the report, the scheme will be funded by a 60 per cent grant from the government, with the states contributing 10 per cent and the remaining amount will be covered by loans.
However, Minister of Power (State) R.K Singh said that the new scheme will be funded through “existing financial resources”. “As far as the fiscal deficit is concerned this scheme is being funded through resources which are already there. We are not taking anything extra.” He also said that the aim of this scheme is to eradicate load shedding and electricity supply to be uninterrupted and reliable.
” The government also aims to make electricity available in the country 24×7 by May 2017,” he concluded. Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was also present on the occasion, said the government was committed to improving the lives of every person through schemes such as Ujjwala and Saubhagya and make a “New India by 2022”.
A press release by Press Information Bureau later in the day said that “Beneficiaries for free electricity connections would be identified using Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data”. The census was conducted in 2011 to replace the use of traditional poverty line-based identification of beneficiaries for government schemes. The release also stated that the Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) will remain the nodal agency for the operationalisation of the scheme throughout the country.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 25, 2017