Rural households still bereft of electricity: Report


Nearly 35 per cent of rural households across the country are still bereft of electricity mainly due to lack of effective monitoring and co-ordination between the Centre and state governments, a recent report has said.

“Access to electricity is a key socio-economic development indicator – an area where there is still a significant gap in India. As of May 2016, 35 per cent of rural households are bereft of electricity with sharp variation across the country,” as per a study by financial services firm JM Financial.

While 87 and 71 per cent household in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, have no reported access, there is universal electricity access in states such as Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, it added.

“As electricity is a concurrent subject, lack of effective monitoring and co-ordination can be attributed to the wide variance across states,” the brokerage firm noted.

It pointed out that there has been a delay in execution of projects and was evident from the low actual spend in past programmes.

By May 2016, only 25 per cent of the 12th Plan’s amount allocated to rural electrification programme has been spent and 81 per cent for the 10th-11th Plan has been spent.

The Narendra Modi government has launched the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) as the flagship rural electrification programme.

“DDUGJY incorporates real-time monitoring of work progress, independent verifications through Gram Vidyut Abhiyanta (GVA) engineers and is likely to see improved execution,” the firm said.

As per the report, rural electrification, along with the urban T&D development plan, is expected to drive massive spending of Rs 1.6 trillion (USD 24 billion) over FY16-22; benefiting companies across the electricity chain.

According to the study, five states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Assam, account for 80 per cent of un-electrified households.

These states account for 38 per cent of total population, are economically weaker (GDP/capita at 55 per cent of the national average) and also have inferior power generation infrastructure (18 per cent of national installed power capacity).

“However, due to the way village electrification is currently defined, even Bihar and UP report 98 per cent of villages as electrified, even though only 13 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively, of rural households have electricity access in these states,” it said.

JM Financial, therefore, noted that the criteria for declaring a village as electrified should be relooked and focus should be on monitoring household electrification more than village electrification.

(With PTI inputs)