Solar Power Packs to Electrify Remote Areas Under a New Government Program
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has launched a new program called Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA) to electrify all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas using solar power. The program has a project outlay of ₹163.2 billion (~$2.5 billion) and Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) of ₹123.2 billion (~$1.89 billion).
This program will complement other electrification programs like the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and UJALA.
Under the SAUBHAGYA program, the outlay for the rural households is ₹140.25 billion (~$2.15 billion) while the GBS is ₹105.875 billion (~$1.62 billion). For the urban households, the outlay is ₹22.95 billion (~$352 million) while GBS is ₹17.325 billion (~$265 million). The Government of India will provide funds for the program to all states and union territories.
Under the program, states and union territories are required to complete the work of household electrification by December 31, 2018.
The beneficiaries for free electricity connections will be identified using Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data. However, un-electrified households not covered under the SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the program on payment of ₹500 (~$7.66) which will be recovered by distribution companies (DISCOMs) in 10 instalments through electricity bill.
The solar power packs of 200 to 300 watts with battery bank for un-electrified households located in remote and inaccessible areas, comprising of five LED lights, one DC fan and one DC power plug will be provided. The cost will also include repair and maintenance (R&M) cost for five years.
The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) is the nodal agency for the implementation of the SAUBHAGYA program throughout the country. To ensure easy and accelerated implementation of the program, modern technology will be used to conduct household survey by using Mobile App. The beneficiaries will be identified and their application for electricity connection along with applicant photograph and identity proof will be registered on spot.
In this program, there are no loopholes. Connection, appliances (fans, lights) and servicing, all three are being provided by the government, commented an official at Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.