The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has introduced a new scheme Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana –“Saubhagya” to ensure electrification of all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas here today.
The total expenditure for the project is Rs. 16, 320 crores while the Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) is Rs. 12,320 crore. The payment for the rural households is Rs. 14,025 crore while the GBS is Rs. 10,587.50 crore. For the urban households, the expense is Rs. 2,295 crore while GBS is Rs. 1,732.50 crore. The Government of India will grant largely funds for the Scheme to all States/UTs.
The States and Union Territories are needed to complete the works of household electrification by the 31st of December 2018.
The advantages for free electricity connections would be identified using Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data. However, un-electrified households not conceal under the SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs. 500 which shall be recovered by DISCOMs in 10 installments through electricity bill.
The solar power packs of 200 to 300 Wp with a battery bank for un-electrified households situated in remote and inaccessible areas, comprises Five LED lights, One DC fan, One DC power plug. It also covers the Repair and Maintenance (R&M) for 5 years.
The expected result of the Scheme is as follows:
(a) Environmental enhancing by substitution of Kerosene for lighting purposes
(b) Upgrading education services
(c) Better health facility
(d) Improving connectivity through radio, television, mobiles, etc.
(e) Scaling up economic activities and jobs
(f) Enhanced quality of life especially for women
For the easy & accelerated implementation of the project, modern technology shall be used for the household survey by using Mobile App. A person who will get advantage shall be identified and their application for electricity connection along with applicant photograph and identity proof shall be registered on spot. The Gram Panchayat/Public institutions in the rural areas may be authorized to take application forms along with complete documentation, distribute bills and collect revenue in consultation with the Panchayat Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies. The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) will remain the vital agency for the operationalization of the scheme throughout the country.
91% of Indian households have been given electricity access till August 2018. Commentators have noted that while the scheme would grant the capacity for electricity in poor and rural households, it did not solve the problem of power outages and made no provision for cases where households could not afford electricity bills.