Dear PM, Electricity In ‘All’ Villages Does Not Mean Power In Every Home
For people swept away by the Modi govt's clever wordplay, here are 8 sobering facts.
There have been some electric responses to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Sunday that every single Indian village has access to electricity now. While the cheerleading section of the Indian media has welcomed the claim no questions asked, others have tried to reason that electrifying a village doesn’t amount to electrifying every single household. Here are 8 facts that will help temper the mood in the pro-Modi camp:
- The problem with all the celebratory tweets and compliments is that the government deems a village “electrified” if just 10% of its households, as well as public places such as schools and health centres, are connected. As of April 26, two days before the government said it met its target of electrification of all villages, less than 8 per cent of the newly electrified villages had all homes electrified, the ET reported.
- The government website that tracks the electrification process— http://saubhagya.gov.in/ —says that 17% of the total 17,99,41,456 rural households are yet to get electricity.
- In Uttar Pradesh, household electrification process is only complete in 56% of the total 3,01,90,713 households.
- In Jharkhand, as much as 52% households of the nearly 55 lakh households are waiting to switch on their first electric bulb.
- Assam is waiting for the electrification of 43% households. The numbers are 36% for Odisha, 35% for Arunachal Pradesh, 30% for Meghalaya, and so on.
- Speaking about the rural electrification challenge, a Scroll report has said, “In the seven years between 2005-2012, during the tenure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, 104,496 villages were electrified and connections were provided to 21.5 million households. Of these, 19 million households were provided free connections. Since April 2015, the National Democratic Alliance government had electrified 19,679 villages.”
- The Congress has also slammed the government for taking undue credit. Congress spokesperson RS Sujrewala tweeted: “India has 6,49,867 villages. Congress connected 97% with electricity. During UPA (2004-14), Congress electrified 1,07,600 villages. In 60 yrs, Congress average is electrifying 10,000 villages per year. Congress created #PowerfulIndia but didn’t boast!”
- Congress spokesperson Salman Anees Soz also tweeted a response to PM Modi’s announcement of all Indian villages having access to electricity. “This is good news indeed,” Soz said. “Since PM Modi took over 4 years back, about 20,000 villages have been electrified. Thanks also to previous governments that brought electricity to about 595,000 villages. Did you know, in 2006-07, UPA electrified 28,706 villages? #JanAkroshRally