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Eye on 2019, Centre to Identify Districts in Each State to Showcase Success of Electricity-for-all Scheme

The ministry of power, in close consultation with state governments, will provide 24x7 electricity to the identified area and use it to pitch for the scheme’s successful rollout.

News18.com

Updated:July 24, 2018, 4:46 PM IST
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Eye on 2019, Centre to Identify Districts in Each State to Showcase Success of Electricity-for-all Scheme
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New Delhi: In the run-up to the 2019 general elections, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government plans to identify one district in each state to showcase its success in providing round-the-clock electricity across the country.

The ministry of power, in close consultation with state governments, will provide 24x7 electricity to the identified area and use it to pitch for the scheme’s successful rollout.

The move, which comes against the backdrop of the government’s focus on providing ‘24x7 clean and affordable power for all’ by March 2019, is seen as a political masterstroke ahead of the elections next year.

The government seeks to reap political dividends from programmes such as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or the Saubhagya scheme.

“While the aim is to provide power for all by March 2019, there is an immediate focus on identifying one district in every state to provide power round the clock,” said a government official requesting anonymity.

“Several states have gone ahead and assured power for all. There are still some states that are in the process of improving themselves. Identifying one such district and focusing efforts there makes sense,” said another government official who did not wish to be named.

The government had set a target to achieve universal household electrification by March 31, 2019. With electricity reaching all census villages, the focus now is on providing connections under the Saubhagya scheme.

The government plans to provide electricity connections to 40 million Indian homes by December 2018, with the state-run Rural Electrification Corporation being the nodal agency for implementing the scheme.

Power minister Raj Kumar Singh has maintained that 24x7 electricity supply is the fundamental right of every citizen. Singh had also said that state-owned electricity distribution companies had witnessed a substantial reduction in losses, which had narrowed down to ₹17,352 crore in 2017-18 from ₹51,096 crore in FY-16.

“People who have not seen darkness don’t understand the meaning of illumination. Those who have not spent their lives in darkness don’t realise the value of light,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on July 19, while interacting with the beneficiaries of DDUGJY across states through video conferencing.

The government had also organised the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan for villages to spread awareness about its pro-poor initiatives. The push mainly aims to improve the socio-economic indices of India’s villages that are lagging behind in key sectors such as health, financial inclusion and electricity connections.


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