Even though the government’s household electrification programme (Saubhagya) has kicked off on a relatively encouraging note — 26.3 lakh households have got electrified under this since its launch in September 2017 —, its other schemes meant for addressing the country’s rickety electricity infrastructure have made only tardy progress so far.
For instance, under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), which was launched in July 2015 with an objective to improve rural electrification, only 15,244 circuit km (ckm) of feeder segregation has been achieved so far, while the target was to put in place 1.6 lakh ckm before the start of 2018-19. Feeder segregation is meant to prevent misuse of subsidised agricultural power supply and improve the distribution companies’ aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. Only 35.4 lakh out of the 150 lakh DDUGJY consumers have been metered so far, and a mere 215 new sub-stations have been constructed versus a target of 1,825.
Urban areas aren’t faring any better under the relevant schemes. While the estimated capital outlay for the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for urban areas is Rs 76,000 crore for the period between June 2015-March 2018, only Rs 28,405 crore has been sanctioned and Rs 4,877 crore released so far. So, just 1,181 urban power users have been supplied with new smart or pre-paid meters under IPDS, against the target of 3.12 lakh. Also, only 155 new urban sub-stations have been completed out the target of 1,097.
Saubhagya, with an approved capital outlay of Rs 16,320 crore till August 2022, is, however, on a solid ground. Out of the total 18.9 crore households in the country, 4.18 crore were without power at the time of its launch. As per the letters of intent (LoI) submitted by 21 states, at least 3.18 crore households are yet to be electrified. States like Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have not sent their LoIs so far, even as more than 15 lakh households are un-electrified in such states.
As many as 9.14 lakh households have been electrified under Saubhagya in Uttar Pradesh—the largest beneficiary among the states under the scheme so far, followed by Madhya Pradesh (7.10 lakh) and Bihar (2.85 lakh). These states had the highest number of unconnected households as on October 2017 ( UP: 160.3 lakh, MP: 47.7 lakh and Bihar: 71.4 lakh).