Following his election mandate Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a nationwide electrification scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana ‘Saubhagya’ scheme that aims to provide electricity connections to “all willing households” across both urban and rural areas.
The scheme has an outlay of Rs 16,320 crore and is estimated to cover over 40 million families which still lack an electricity connection by December 2018.
“Rs 16,000 crore will be spent to bring a monumental change in the lives of the poor,” Modi said while launching the scheme here today. The Prime Minister said that he regretted that even after 70 years of Independence, 40 million out of 172 million families still lacked access to power.
Alongside the electrification push, Modi also announced the constitution of a five-member Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) under the chairmanship of Bibek Debroy, member Niti Aayog, in an effort to drive ideas to give a fillip to the economy.
The EAC-PM is an independent body that would give advice on economic and related issues to the Government, specifically to the Prime Minister. The other four members in the committee include part-time members — economists Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy and Ashima Goyal along with Ratan Watal, principal advisor, Niti Aayog as the member secretary.
Under Saubhagya scheme, states and union territories would be required to complete the “works of household electrification” by December 31, 2018.
The beneficiaries for free-electricity connections would be identified using the socio-economic caste census (SECC) 2011. “However, un-electrified households not covered under the SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs 500 which shall be recovered by DISCOMs (distribution companies) in 10 instalments through electricity bill,” the government said in a statement. The Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) Limited will be the nodal agency for operating this scheme throughout the country.
Inputs from ET Bureau