- India continues to harbour energy poverty. Around 31 million rural households and about five million urban households are still to be connected to the grid — the highest in any country.
- The Central government has set itself an ambitious target of connecting all remaining households by the end of March 2019 and made budgetary allocations to cover the cost of electrification.
24×7 ‘Power for All Scheme
24x7 - Power for All (24x7 PFA) is a Joint Initiative of Government of India (GoI) and State Governments with the objective to provide 24x7 power available to all households, industry, commercial businesses, public needs, any other electricity consuming entity and adequate power to agriculture farm holdings by FY 19.
SAUBHAGYA Scheme-Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana
- Under Saubhagya free electricity connections to all households (both APL and poor families) in rural areas and poor families in urban areas will be provided.
- There are around 4 Crore un-electrified households in the country and they are targeted for providing electricity connections by December 2018.
- Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been designated as nodal agency for the Saubhagya scheme.
- Regional imbalances in electricity access have persisted. Seven States (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh) account for 90% of un-electrified households.
- Cost of supply: Electricity distribution companies (discoms) in these seven States are already highly indebted, accounting for 42% of accumulated debts of all discoms as on March 2016.
- Challenges in distribution: Distribution infrastructure is overburdened, as the demand has grown, causing a high level of technical losses and frequent breakdowns.
· Slow disbursement of grants by center: Disbursement of these grants has been much slower, 17% under DDUGJY (Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana) and 31% under IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme), reflecting sluggish implementation.