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Modi’s Saubhagya scheme needs to pick up pace to meet December deadline

In September last year, Narendra Modi had launched a new scheme, Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’, for free electricity connections to all households. So far around 2 crore households have been connected under the scheme. However, the scheme has to pick up pace to meet the deadline of 100 percent electrification within December 2018.

According to a Financial Express report, the pace of electrification has to increase by 72 percent. Also, Union Power Minister RK Singh, in a recent review meeting, had said that to meet the deadline the current electrification speed has to be increased from 1.1 lakh households per day to 1.9 lakh.

Status report

Since October 11 of last year, two crore households have been electrified out of over three crore houses. This means over 65 percent work has been completed.

States, where electrification work is remaining, include Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand among others.

In UP, as many as over 65 lakh households remain un-electrified. Six lakh houses in Rajasthan, over 2 lakh houses in Karnataka and 1 lakh houses in West Bengal are yet to get electricity. 10.5 lakh households in Assam, 7.1 lakh in Odisha, and 5.7 lakh in Jharkhand remain in the dark.

In UP, the Saubhagya scheme is marred by the problem of illegal electric connections. There are as many as 35 lakh illegal connections. However, the state has regularised 20 lakh such connections.

The scheme has to pick up pace in Assam where the electrification rate is 4,316 households per day against the requirement of 12,557.

As for Rajasthan, the pace of electrification is slow as the state plans to connect 3.56 lakh households through ‘off-grid’ mechanism. The earlier target was 86 thousand. And this has led to increase in cost as well. Now the average expenditure for every household has increased to Rs 70,000.