New Delhi: From importing to having excess coal, from gasping for natural gas to striding towards construction of gas grids and strengthening the renewable energy sector in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set India an ambitious target of becoming an energy surplus state by 2022 while addressing the News18 Rising India Summit on Friday.
"Today, we are moving towards an energy surplus status. We are also moving towards our dream of One Nation, One Grid. By 2022 we will have excess energy in the country," said Modi.
“There was a time when the power ministry, renewable energy ministry and the coal ministry did not know what the other was doing. Now they are working as one unit. We have electrified over 16,000 of the 18,000 villages in the country that did not have electricity since 1947,” he added.
Highlighting the achievements of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana he said, "Ujjwala is not just changing kitchens but also the situation of crores of families." Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget had raised the target of beneficiaries under the Ujjwala scheme to 8 crore.
“We launched the scheme to make poor women free from the smoke of wood. Initially, our target was to provide free LPG connections to about 5 crore poor women. But in view of the pace of implementation of the scheme and its popularity among the women, we propose to increase the target of providing free connection to 8 crore poor women," said Jaitley.
Prime Minister Modi also talked about the power and renewable ministries working together to achieve its target. The government has set a target of achieving 175 gigawatts (GW) installed capacity of renewable energy by 2022. Of this, 100 GW is expected from solar power and 60 GW coming from wind power projects.
As of December 15, 2017, India had an installed solar power capacity of 16.68 GW, New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) minister RK Singh told Parliament on January 4. The installed operational capacity of wind energy was at 33 GW, the minister added.
The Prime Minister also hailed his government's efforts in increasing air connectivity in the country and constructing airports. "We are building 12 new airports in eastern India under UDAN. Six of these will be in Northeast. For the first time, a commercial flight landed in Sikkim," he said.
Aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey recently informed the media that the initial success of the first phase of the regional connectivity scheme prompted the government to extend the scheme for international flights as well. The Assam government has expressed interest in connecting Guwahati airport with several South East Asian destinations.