Powering Villages

DDUGJY achieves 99 per cent electrification of rural India

The Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) was launched in December 2014 with the objective of providing 24×7 power supply to rural households, completing the balance work under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), and strengthening the sub-transmission and distribution systems.

So far, progress under the DDUGJY has been rapid. In August 2015, the government had set a target, under the scheme, to electrify the remaining unelectrified villages (18,542 as of March 2015) within 1,000 days. As per the latest government data on the GARV portal, the website tracking village electrification, more than 11,700 villages have been electrified as of January 2017. With this, more than 99 per cent of the 597,464 villages in the country have been electrified. The focus has now shifted to household electrification. Of the 175 million households across the country, 71 per cent have been electrified so far. The government aims to meet the 100 per cent household electrification target by December 2018.

The following is a summary of the DDUGJY’s progress so far…

Outlay

For the DDUGJY, the central government lends financial support in the form of grants, 60 per cent for all states and 85 per cent for states with special status. These are extendable up to 75 per cent and 90 per cent respectively. Under the scheme, all north-eastern states as well as Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are given special status. Meanwhile, financial institutions and banks provide loans for about 30 per cent of the project cost for all states and 10 per cent for special category states.

For the implementation of the scheme, the central government earmarked a budget of around Rs 334.5 billion, against the total outlay of Rs 430 billion allocated for the scheme. As part of the partial funding by the government, the special category states were given funds worth Rs 63.1 billion while all the other states were provided Rs 357.9 billion. In addition, around Rs 5 billion was estimated to be the total cost of works completely funded by the government and Rs 4.2 billion was allocated for other enabling activities. About 48 per cent of the total funds has been estimated to be used for unelectrified rural households and system strengthening while 38 per cent will be used for the separation of feeders on the basis of agricultural and non-agricultural usage. During 2016-17, Rs 29.46 billion has been drawn from the Ministry of Power, as of December 2016, achieving 98 per cent against a target of Rs 30 billion for the programme. These funds were disbursed in three quarterly tranches, one of Rs 14.7 billion and two of Rs 7.3 billion each.

Overall, of the Rs 1,063 billion sanctioned for the programme, about 41 per cent or Rs 439.97 billion has been drawn as of December 2016. Of this, Rs 41.5 billion has been disbursed as loans to entities for the implementation of the programme, while the remaining Rs 398.4 billion has been given as subsidies.

Village electrification status

Of the 18,452 unelectrified villages, 64 per cent have been electrified (as of January 2017), 4 per cent (750 villages) were found to be uninhabited, and work is now expected to be undertaken for the remaining 32 per cent or 5,923 villages. The government hopes to electrify the remaining villages by March 2017.

State-wise, nine states have achieved 100 per cent rural electrification of Census villages. Notable among these are Maharashtra with nearly 41,000 electrified villages, Andhra Pradesh with 26,286 villages and Gujarat with about 18,000 villages. Seven states have less than 1 per cent unelectrified villages, while the remaining have 1.5-23.5 per cent unelectrified villages.

Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of villages at 97,813 and was given a budget of about Rs 69.5 billion under the DDUGJY. It has now electrified all but 13 villages. Bihar, with a total of 39,073 villages, received the second largest budget allocation of Rs 58.6 billion. About 33 per cent of the programme’s budget was allocated to these two states. Arunachal Pradesh has the largest number of unelectrified villages as of January 2017, with 1,229 of its 5,258 villages still without electricity. It is followed by Assam with 1,010 unelectrified villages against a total of 25,372 villages, and Jharkhand with 967 out of 29,492 total villages.

Household electrification status

So far, about 71 per cent or 124.6 million of the 175.1 million total rural households have been electrified with four states achieving 100 per cent rural household electrification. These are Punjab, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. Seven states have achieved over 85 per cent of household electrification, namely, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Meanwhile, 11 states have achieved 60 per cent or more rural household electrification. However, Bihar (45 per cent), Jharkhand (39 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (47 per cent) and Nagaland (45 per cent) have achieved the lowest rural household electrification as of January 2017.

Quality of power supply

Along with the electrification of rural and remote areas, the programme has to ensure round-the-clock power supply to these areas. As of November 2016, rural areas in six states – Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal – receive 24 hours of power supply in a day, while Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tripura receive more than 23 hours of power in a day. Mizoram receives power only for 10 hours in a day while the rest of the states receive power for 12-22 hours in a day.

Conclusion

Over the past three decades or so, while the government has taken a number of rural electrification programmes in India, it has failed to make a major mark. The rural electrification rate was only 83 per cent back in 1991. However, on account of deterioration in the discoms’ financial health, rural electrification slowed down during the 1990s. It picked up only after 2005 with dedicated programmes such as the RGGVY. Since the DDUGJY’s introduction in 2014, the rural electrification growth has been fast-tracked. Under the DDUGJY, the states have either completed or are in the process of achieving complete electrification. In addition, the programme aims to achieve household-level electrification, with special emphasis on below poverty line households. However, there have been several roadblocks to the implementation of the programme. These include delays in the submission of detailed project reports by the concerned agencies and in obtaining approvals from the forest and environment, railways and other departments, which resulted in the delayed award of sanctioned projects to implementing agencies, as well as law and order concerns in remote and Naxal-affected areas.

These issues notwithstanding, the DDUGJY, as it approaches its deadline of March 2017, is expected to achieve 100 per cent electrification of the country’s census villages, thereby making it one of the most successful rural electrification programmes in the country till date.

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