Government Approves ₹5.15 Billion Solar Program for Tribal Areas

The program will be effective from financial years 2023-24 to 2025-26

January 5, 2024


The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has received the President of India’s approval to implement a new solar power program with an outlay of ₹5.15 billion (~$61.9 million) for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) habitations and villages under the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM JANMAN).

The program aims to electrify 100,000 PVTG households in areas where electricity supply through the grid is not deemed techno-economically feasible with 0.3 kW off-grid solar power systems. The government has earmarked ₹5 billion (~$60 million) towards this initiative. The financial assistance for each household will be either ₹50,000 (~$601) or the actual cost of the system.

The program also includes provisions for solar lighting in 1,500 multi-purpose centers in PVTG areas where electricity through the grid is unavailable. The government will provide ₹100,000 (~$1,202) per multi-purpose center and has budgeted ₹150 million (~$1.8 million) towards this initiative.

The program will be effective from financial years (FY) 2023-24 to 2025-26.

The PVTG areas identified by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs are located in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Andaman and Nicobar.

The funds for the program will be sourced from MNRE’s Development Action Plan for Scheduled Tribes. It will be disbursed over three years— ₹200 million (~$2.4 million) in 2023-24, ₹2.55 billion (~$30.6 million) in 2024-25, and ₹2.4 billion (~$28.9 million) in 2025-26.

A separate budget line, PM JANMAN, has been opened for this purpose.

The last time MNRE published benchmark costs for decentralized and off-grid solar systems was for FY 2021-22. The amended benchmark costs included the total cost of the system and its installations, commissioning, transportation, insurance, warranty, monitoring, and maintenance for five years.

MNRE also issued the framework to promote and develop decentralized renewable energy-based livelihood applications.