NEW DELHI: Contradicting the Prime Minister’s claim at the launch of Saubhagya or the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana on September 25, 2017, that there were four crore households that do not have electricity, the Power Ministry has lowered the target to three crore.
Giving details of the power connections to be provided in un-electrified houses, a statement on the PIB website dated September 25, reads: “In this context he (PM) mentioned the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, which would provide power connections to all the estimated four crore households which currently did not have a power connection.
“The outlay for this scheme would be over Rs 16,000 crore. These connections would be provided free of cost to the poor, the Prime Minister said.”However, an office memorandum of the Power Ministry dated October 11 says the total number of rural households in the country is about 17.96 crore.
The number of BPL households already sanctioned power connections under the Ujjwala scheme but yet to be given the benefit is 1.79 crore.
The document says that 2.81 crore rural households are yet to be connected. It estimates that there are 50 lakh poor people in urban areas who have yet to get electricity connections.
The document also says the estimates are based on SECC (socio-economic and caste census) 2011 statistics and on information furnished by state governments.
The document lays down the targets for Saubhagya clearly.
“The objective of the scheme is to achieve universal household electrification by providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all households in rural and urban areas,” it reads.
Saubhagya is aimed at giving free electricity connections — not free power — to all by March 31, 2019.
The earlier target date was December 31, 2018.