A boy studies under an electric lightbulb in Haryana (Priyanka Parashar/Mint via Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • The new web-portal for Saubhagya will provide real time information on household electrification status.

    It will thus eliminate all possibilities of fake strides in the electrification of households of low-income families in rural and urban areas across India.

In what will put to rest all controversies over the pace of rural electrification process in the country, the government on Thursday (16 November) launched a new digital platform for monitoring household electrification progress.

The web portal that was launched for Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ would now disseminate information on household electrification status (state, district, and village-wise), household progress on a real-time basis, state-wise target versus achievement, and monthly electrification progress. This website will thereby eliminate all possibilities of fake strides in the electrification of households of low-income families in rural and urban areas across India.

The Saubhagya dashboard was launched by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy R K Singh.

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The Saubhagya web-portal has a feature on village electrification camps, and in line with that, DISCOMs will organise camps in a cluster of villages to help facilitate filling out application forms and submit the required documentation necessary to expedite release of electricity connections to households.

Further, all states have been asked to announce the schedules of the village camps and create awareness among the people about the one-stop facility for getting electricity connections.

The state power department will also adopt the innovative mechanism through dedicated web-portal/mobile app for collection and consolidation of data in electronic form including the compilation of application forms for obtaining electricity connections. The details of consumers would be collected by the DISCOMs.

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Achieving electrification of four crore households is a big challenge, but the government assured that it is committed to achieving this target by December 2018, with the cooperation of all the states. This would, in turn, bring about a huge improvement in the quality of life of the citizens.

The government is bringing a change in the power ecosystem in the country by pushing towards mandatory metering of all new electrical connections through pre-paid or smart meters.

This would make payment of electricity bills viable for the poor, reduce power losses and increase compliance in paying electricity bills, Singh said.

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Talking about the Saubhagya portal, the minister said that through this online platform every state would feed in the current status of progress of electrification works, hence enabling a system of accountability for the state utility and DISCOM and help in increasing their viability.

Further, seven states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Mizoram, Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Assam have given their requirements to the power ministry for funds under the Saubhagya scheme, which would be released soon for aiding the respective electrification work.

The Saubhagya scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 September 2017 with an outlay of Rs 16,320 crores including budgetary support of Rs 12,320 crores.

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There are around four crore un-electrified households in the country, which the government plans to electrify by December 2018.

Till recently, the focus of electrification was through the creation of village electricity infrastructure for all households and providing free electricity connections to poor household families in rural areas. Now, the focus is to provide free electricity connections to all homes including the families above poverty line (APL) in rural areas and the families below poverty line (BPL) in urban areas.

Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) is the Nodal Agency for the operationalisation of the scheme throughout the country.

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