For a nation, with over a quarter of its population or approximately 300 million people majority of them inhabiting rural areas, availability of electricity still continues to be a challenge.
For many, the supply of electricity is erratic and unreliable. Kerosene lamps continue to be the best source of light after sunset, with people ignoring the risk of domestic fire and respiratory infection associated with it.
To address these challenges- related to access and the reliability of electricity, the government has set up goals, which it is keen on achieving as evident from the progress made in electrifying rural households.
Yesterday, Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy in the Government of India congratulated members of the entire Rural Electrification team for electrifying 305 villages last week - the highest number of villages electrified in a week till date.
Further, in his Budget address today, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that Rural Electrification project has been allocated Rs 8500 crore and the target for completion of the project- 100% Rural Electrification to be achieved by 2018.
The Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY-RE ) was launched in 2015 by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi with an aim of ensuring continuous electricity to farmers and rural households. Under the scheme Ministry of Power has sanctioned 921 projects to electrify 1,21,225 un-electrified villages, intensive electrification of 5,92,979 partially electrified villages and provide free electricity connections to 397.45 lakh BPL rural families.
200 villages to be electrified every week
The Prime Minister has urged Power Ministry officials to co-ordinate with the state implementing agencies to target electrification of around 200 villages every week adding that the progress achieved in realizing this enormous task should be highlighted as well.
'5542rural villages have been electrified&emphasis to achieve 100%rural electrification over next few yrs,reflects,sabka saath sbka vikaas'— ashish shelar (@ShelarAshish) February 29, 2016
According to media reports, in order to achieve the set deadline and monitor the project, the implementation schedule of Rural Electrification project has been limited to a time duration of 12 months, with the process being divided into 12 stages with set deadlines.
Through a Facebook post yesterday Shri Goel informed that out of 18, 452 unelectrified villages, over 5500 villages have been electrified, adding that the villages in Northeast India will be receiving maximum benefits. He had earlier said in a PTI report that the Centre has fixed a target of electrifying 7,000 villages by March-end.