The Central government on Tuesday stated that it has completed the electrification of “census villages” and it would now focus on electrifying the un-electrified hamlets and habitations, which are inside each of the villages, by this year-end.
With electricity reaching Manipur’s Leisang on Saturday, the Centre announced the completion of electrification of all villages in the country. On Tuesday, the Power Ministry gave the following statement: “There are reports in some sections of media that some villages are still un-electrified, contrary to the governments’ claim of achieving 100 per cent village electrification. In this connection, it may be reiterated that the government had taken up electrification of remaining un-electrified census villages, duly identifiable as per census code, reported by the States as on April 1, 2015, under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.”
It added: “Electrification of all these villages has been reported complete by all the concerned states. Some of the households in sub-village units viz. habitations/hamlets/dhanis/majras/tolas may not be having electricity as of now, and it is felt that certain news agencies are reporting about such habitations.” Local hamlet areas in villages are classified as dhanis, majras and tolas.
While the task of “village electrification” may have been accomplished, an estimated 3.14 crore rural households are still without any access to electricity — about 17 per cent of the total 17.99 crore rural households. Around 25.64 per cent of rural households in Bihar, 44.2 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 43.3 per cent in Assam, 52.25 per cent in Jharkhand and 36.34 per cent in Odisha do not have any access to electricity, according to estimates made available on the Ministry of Power’s official website on April 29.
R K Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, told reporters on Tuesday in New Delhi: “Each village has pockets of houses under multiple hamlets within itself. These hamlets will be electrified as the households are connected. We have set a target of connecting each household in the country by December 31, 2018.”
According to the government’s 2006 rural electrification policy, a village is deemed “electrified” if basic infrastructure, such as a transformer and distribution lines, have been set up in the inhabited locality, which includes a “Dalit Basti”. According to norms, at least 10 per cent of households of such a village should have access to electricity through the basic infrastructure established. The definition does not mention the actual electricity connection for every household or its supply.
Singh on Tuesday said the push for household electrification will be done via Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana scheme.
On the Saubhagya scheme, Singh said, “I have visited all the states and talked to the Chief Minister, power ministers, pradhan sachiv and CMDs (chairman and managing directors) of various discoms and discussed (the scheme) in detail. I am sure that we will achieve this target.”
However, he added: “We have one major challenge that is Uttar Pradesh. We are sure that we will achieve the target. Rest, in any state no CMD (or) Pradhan felt that this target cannot be met by December 31, 2018.”