Power to all- Saubhagya Scheme to Electrify India
The Indian economy is growing steadily with the emergence of lots of technological development, at par with international standards. However, the accessibility and the availability of these technologies can be enjoyable only if “electricity” is available. The Saubhagya Scheme launched by the government aims to achieve just that.
Recognising that the efficient production and utilization of the electricity by the people at every household or any business place is directly proportional to the growth of the economy, the Indian Government launched the Saubhagya scheme in September 2017 with a mission to provide electricity to every household in India by Early 2019.The website Saubhagya.gov.in provides all the information related to the on-going or pending status, percentage of connections completed and the other relevant statistical data with respect to the state-wise, district-wise and village-wise developments under the Saubhagya scheme. This scheme is an addendum to various other existing Government schemes running under the Power sector.
The nodal agency responsible for implementing this scheme is state-run rural electrification Corporation (REC).This project has an approved budget of approx.Rs16000 crores. The end user firstly needs to register with the Saubhagya scheme on the website. The spot registration can be done using the corresponding mobile app which allows instant registration of the users by filling up and submitting the application forms to get a new power connection. This data collection process of the users is yet to be made electronically automated.
Challenges of Saubhagya Scheme
There are several challenges in achieving Saubhagya scheme such as
- the debt incurred by the power sector under various other schemes;
- the politics and corruption levels involved within the power sector;
- the transmission and distribution energy losses;
- the affordability of power depends on the supply; the more the supply, the lesser the cost of consumption and the ease in affordability;
- the load shedding would continue to happen until the distribution agencies gets enough power from the power generators; so the claim of scheme for providing reliable and quality 24/7 power supply is yet another major obstacle to overcome;
- the free electricity connections does not address the practical use of electricity at each of the household or a business entity;
Highlights of the Saubhagya Scheme
The Saubhagya scheme aims to achieve the following:
- Reduce the kerosene lamps lit houses and eliminate the prevailing stubble burning processes in agricultural sector of India;
- Efforts to light up the non-electrified inaccessible areas, electrification of villages in rural areas which is not only inclusive of the households but also the public places such as health centres, streets, government offices, schools and community centres;
- Lighting the public places would protect the people on the streets in villages especially women,children and the elderly after the sunset;
- For further highly inaccessible areas where the power grid can hardly reach, the Solar power or battery banks enabled electrification would be provided by the government along with the LED lights and DC fans, periodic repair and maintenance of the connections;
- Electricity to be billed without any subsidy routing a way to set up the bill generation and collection centers at panchayat offices or any other such institutions in order to further ease out the collection process of the distribution companies;
- Provides the necessary financial assistance in the form of grants, loans or fees to improve the infrastructure and administration of power supply in rural area along with the setting up of electricity meters, transformers etc.;
Effects of the Scheme:
- Implementation of smart prepaid meters for on-demand distribution of electricity;
- Increase the connectivity of the people with surrounding environment through internet access and availability of devices such as mobile, computers, radio and television;
- Strengthen the power sector of state. Improve many economic activities such as healthcare, literacy rate, employment generation, pollution control.
- Protect the environment by using safe and quality tested electrical appliances wherever possible;
- Conduct awareness and training programs on the utilization of power and developments of the Power sector in India;
- Create innovations to develop the energy efficient equipment; conduct research and developments activities to reach wider range of audience;
India would become more powerful with the advances in its power sector. Saubhagya scheme, if implemented successfully, would make the villages smarter. It can also help to provide a secure and better standard of living to all of its beneficiaries. Irrespective of being below or above the poverty line, people will benefit. Smarter villages would generate revenue. They will also create the knowledge economy, thus fostering the research and development activities in the country. This, in turn, would fairly increase the investments under power sector and contribute to the overall Indian economy.
Authored by Rekha Harish Rao