The electrification work would be completed in the remaining 3,992 villages by October this year which will pave the way for giving all households in the country access to power by May 1, 2018, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said today.
The BJP-led NDA government had taken up the task of electrifying 18,452 unelectrified villages after it came to power. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech in 2015 had set a target of electrifying these villages in 1,000 days (by May 1, 2018).
While addressing a press conference on rural electrification, Goyal said the government will electrify the remaining (3,992) villages by October this year so that all households get electricity in these (18,452) villages by May 1, 2018.
As of now as per the GARV portal, as many as 13,516 villages are electrified, 944 are uninhabited and 3,992 would be electrified. Out of 17.92 crore rural households, 13.31 crore families have access to power supply.
Goyal also said that now a village would be considered electrified only after providing electricity to 100 per cent households.
Earlier, the village electrification is considered completed if power lines are provided to a village with power connection to at least 10 per cent of the families living there.
Talking about the impact of good governance in rural electrification, Goyal said, "The government is working on the concept of 4S i.e. 'Skill, Speed, Scale and now Sewa' to improve the lives of the rural populace as its prime priority."
The minister further said, "We have changed the rules of this game. Instead of counting 10 per cent households in the village to complete electrification process, now the government is focusing on providing power connections to each and every household of village, thus providing meaning to the concept of ‘Antyodaya’."
Goyal said that in line with the philosophy of Pandit DeenDayal Upadhyaya of ANTYODAYA (serving the last Man), on November 20, 2014, the Government of India had approved Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), an integrated scheme covering all aspects of rural power distribution like Feeder Segregation, System Strengthening, Metering.
Responding to a question on lower Subansiri Hydro Power project, the minister said that had the project completed in time, the tariff would have been Rs 1.86 per unit which now would be around Rs 5.5 per unit.
He assured there would be progress on the project soon as there is hearing on the issues related to it in the National Green Tribunal later this month.
Later, a Power Ministry statement said that five times more villages were electrified in 2016-17 under DDUGJY as compared to 2013-14 and there was a four-fold jump in Intensive Electrification of Rural Households.
It said that free electricity connections were provided to 256.81 lakh below poverty line families up to April 30 2017.
The Centre releases of Rs 7,965.87 crore in 2016-17, which is the highest grant released to states in any financial year, over the years. Besides, the projects with an outlay of Rs 42,553.17 crore were approved for 32 states/UTs.
The minister on this occasion said the Centre is ready to fund the smart metering programme in the states