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Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana

Prime Minister recently launched the Saubhagya scheme, also known as the
Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana. What does it aim to achieve and
can it really attempt all it promises?
Electricity availability is essential for the development of our country. It will have positive
impact on the lives of people. It helps in boosting the education and healthcare facilities of
the region which results in overall human development. According to ‘World Bank’ data in
2014 only 80% of India’s population had access to electricity compared to world average of
85%. Hence, the current government has been focussing a lot on increasing the access to
electricity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also earlier launched two important schemes
to boost the electricity connectivity namely UDAY & Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti
Yojana (DDUGJY).
Need for Saubhagya scheme
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) was launched in July 2015 to electrify
the villages which didn’t have the connectivity. The government was able to electrify 14,701
villages but 2,760 were still left. Even if we consider that so many villages were electrified
but still there was a lot of gap. According to the definition used: ‘A village was considered to
be electrified even if 10% of household of that village had electricity connection’. Another
gap was the irregular supply of electricity in the connected households. So, if out of 14000
villages electrified under this scheme, 90% of households don’t have connection and among
those connected don’t have provision of minimum supply can still these villages be
considered electrified?
Features and Aim of Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana
It has been launched by Prime Minister on 25th September, 2017. It is different from
DDUGJY in the sense that it provides access to all by last-mile connectivity. So, it brings the
transition from connection villages to connecting households. The outlay for the scheme
proposed is Rs. 16,320 crore out of which 14,025 crore is for rural households. The target
set by the government to complete the electrification process is 31st December, 2018.
Government will provide free connections to families under BPL (Below Poverty Line)
category. These BPL families will be identified through Socio Economic and Caste Census
(SECC) 2011 data. The whole process will be done using latest technology like using mobile
app for household survey. The households which are not covered under BPL status will also
be given the facility of paying the fees of Rs.500 in 10 instalments. In addition to ensuring
electricity connectivity to every household the scheme aims to upgrade environment
because the use of Kerosene lamps for lightning purpose will reduce. Other outcomes it
expects to achieve are better connectivity, improved health and education standards and
more jobs. Hence, it will help in improving overall quality of life of people.
Challenges in implementation
There are two major challenges to implementation:
1. Connection Bills: Though the scheme has the provision of free connections for BPL
households but it doesn’t take into account the payment of monthly electricity
charges. It is unrealistic to expect that BPL households will be able to pay the
monthly bills s per high tariff of DISCOMs.
2. Regular supply of electricity: According to an estimate if we assume that all
remaining households are connected then it will require additional 28000MW which
is 7% of country’s total capacity. Meeting this high power requirement will be a
challenging task as already there is a shortage of power especially in rural areas.
In last three years many schemes have been launched that are based on Government’s
agenda of development, Saubhagya is one such scheme. It has a very ambitious aim of
connecting every household to electricity grid network of India. But it remains to be seen
whether the demand of the additional capacity will be met. If this scheme is successful then
it will definitely provide a huge boost to Indian economy and overall growth.

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