Rural electrification and its issues

By January 11, 2017Uncategorized

The power just went off and you lost all your calm. The summer is on its peak and to not have a fan over your head seems to be a punishment.
Most of all not having a Wi-Fi makes your life seems impossible for 15 minutes. So you wait for the 15 minutes and call up your local electricity suppliers. Though this seems like a very normal and natural thing to do, it can also be tagged as impatience because quiet often we don’t realize the value of what we have.
On one side where most of us have 24 hours power facility, a large section of rural India has no clue about what leading a life with electricity feels like. In spite of launching of ambitious schemes to achieve 100% rural electrification, India has achieved only 67.3% overall electrification (urban and rural together). More than 75 million households (45% of the total rural households) are yet to be electrified (Census of India, 2011).

Here are the reasons why:

  • High cost of grid extension and low recovery due to highly subsidized tariff
  • low level of tariff collection resulting in negative return
  • Supply rationing due to non-availability of power
  • High operation and maintenance cost
  • Issues with respect to reliability of power supply.
  • Even for those rural areas, which are electrified, there is a tremendous shortage of power supply. Thus it is not uncommon for these areas to have 10-15 hours of blackouts and brownouts every day
  • There is a shortfall of electricity because growing demand for it in urban areas.
  • No proper administrative mechanism to meet the electrical needs of these rural areas
  • Lack and improper usage of funds allocated for electrification.

The reasons stated above only go ahead to prove that a very vital section of the country which produces food for the rest of us is unattended to. Where we in our cities complaint about poor Wi-Fi connectivity, these people in rural areas have probably not even experienced continuous electrification.

The Good news is: However despite all these issues, the notable efforts of the government cannot be overlooked or undermined.

  • Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana to electrify un-electrified villages as per prevailing definition of electrification launched in 2003
  • Remote Village Electrification Program launched in 2001 by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). This program focused on electrifying remote villages not connected to grid through use of renewable energy sources
  • Accelerated Rural Electrification Program in 2003
  • Accelerated electrification of one lakh villages and one crore households launched in 2004
  • Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY): Launched in 2005, this program aimed at providing energy access to all by 2009 and at least one unit of electricity per household per day by 2012 as envisaged in NEP (National Electricity policy) 2005. All earlier programs were merged in RGGVY
  • In 2009, MoP launched Decentralized Distributed Generation Scheme under RGGVY to electrify un-electrified villages through mini grids. This also included villages which receive less than six hours of electricity per day
  • In December 2014, current government announced DeendayalUpadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) with major modifications in RGGVY.

What can we do?

  • Conserve electricity. Do not misuse. The government as a priority provides us with better electricity because we simply live in urban cities, pay higher taxes and do pay our electricity bills on time. But that doesn’t give us the right to snatch someone else’s basic need by misusing the same need.
  • Use your social media for better causes: For once or at least once in a while, let us all act as responsible citizens and raise a voice for the unheard voices. Let’s look beyond our needs and spread awareness on our Facebook, twitter handles on the same issues urging people to conserve electricity.

Electricity is a basic right which no one can be deprived of. People in rural areas are as much entitled to these facilities as you and I are. It’s high time we stood as a country together.

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