SAUBHAGYA – WILL UP PROVE TO BE THE DURBHAGYA?

about 5 months ago
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The data on the dashboard of Saubhagya, the electrification scheme for all introduced by the Govt, is probably the most comprehensive, dynamic and insightful data provided ever by any Govt organization. It is impressive simply because we are not accustomed to the Govt being so proactive, that too when it comes to data provision.

As we all are well aware, the Saubhagya Scheme or Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana is the Govt’s project to provide electricity to all households. The project was announced in September 2017 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said that the aim was to complete the electrification process by December 2018.

So one year on, where does Saubhagya stand? Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Kerala, Goa and Puducherry are the states which have already achieved 100% electrification target.

The worst performing is UP, which has met 73.87% of the target, followed by Arunachal Pradesh at 75.77%, Meghalaya at 77.01% and Nagaland at 79.35%. Even Bihar has done very well at 98.12%.

The total number of households in India stands at 21,66, 29, 320 of which 93% is electrified. Since Oct 2017 till date, in one year, the target was to electrify 3,18,49,238 households of which 54.69% target is met.

The BIG question is – will Saubhagya meet its target of 100% over the next 69 days? With over 1.44 crore households to be electrified, the target is to get over 2 crore households electrified per day. Now that sounds like a really tall order even for Incredible India!

The biggest suspect here, which could jeopardize the prospect of the Govt meeting its target is UP. Since 11th Oct’17 till date, only 35.96% of the households in the state have been electrified. And taking all the households in UP, the total electrification stands at 74% as stated earlier. The fact which makes the target look daunting is that as against the requirement of electrifying 1.17 lakh per day, currently only 12,613 houses are being electrified per day. Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand are also laggards.

What made these States fall behind so much?  UP has said that unavailability of sufficient equipment and regularisation of about 36 lakh illegal connections as the major impediment. Odisha is blaming it all on Titli cyclone which has wreaked havoc and slowed down the progress. Jharkhand is facing technical manpower shortage. Rajasthan too is in this list now as it wants to connect 3.56 lakh households through ‘off-grid’ mechanism, against the 86 thousand originally proposed. That’s a huge jump indeed, enough to throw any target awry!

Well, for now, apart from urging Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association to step up supply of equipment, the power minister RK Singh announced rewards of Rs 100 crore to the entities which achieve electrification targets first.

At this juncture, achieving the target, especially given the state of preparedness of UP looks difficult. But this is a pet peeve of the PM and when he starts on the election campaign, he would surely want to say that Saubhagya achieved its target and the BJP succeeded in electrifying entire India. That’s no small feat and indeed laudable.

There are indeed far flung villages in Spiti valley where people have said that they have seen electricity in their houses for the first time in their entire life span. We just hope the entire country gets the power of electricity, every village as promised.

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