Electricity reached all Indian villages

• According to the government data, all of India’s 597,464 census villages have been electrified.

• The last village to be brought on the national power grid was Leisang village in the Senapati district of Manipur on 28th April.

• With the electricity now reaching all villages through the marque Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), it is being termed as a game changer moment for readying the country towards achieving universal electricity access.

• State-run Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) is the nodal agency appointed for executing the scheme.

=> Significance

• The scheme will also help improve India’s per capita power consumption of around 1,200 kWh which is among the lowest in the world.

• Aimed at providing round the clock power to rural households and adequate power to agricultural consumers, the DDUGJY involved feeder separation, strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network, metering at all levels, village electrification, and setting up micro grid and off-grid distribution network.

• The feeder separation for rural agricultural and village households will help stem the load shedding practice of distribution utilities and is expected to bring benefits such as improved agriculture yield and socio-economic development of the rural areas.

=> Next step

• Given that a village is declared to be electrified if 10% of the households can access power along with public institutions such as schools, the panchayat office, health centres, dispensaries and community centres

• The household electrification remains the final frontier in providing electricity access.

• The next step now is to provide electrical connections to more than 40 million families in rural and urban areas by March 2019 under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya), wherein all households will be targeted.

=> Way ahead

• The scheme funds the cost of last-mile connectivity to willing households and will provide the architecture through which the government seeks to reduce import of fossil fuels, boost underutilized power plants and meet its climate change commitments.

• By providing universal access to electricity under the scheme, the government plans to leverage the same to promote induction cooking, heating and charging electric vehicles, apart from the initial target of providing lighting.

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