27/3/2018 216 Geography | Infrastructure | View Recent Current Affairs
- Ministry of Power has joined hands with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to train the manpower in six states for speedy implementation of its Saubhagya scheme.
- The launch of this partnership was done through a video conferencing with states where senior officials and Ministers from state governments, were present.
- The scheme has been undertaken as a special project under the government's Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). The special project under the PMKVY has been launched in six states - Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
- Around 47,000 Distribution Lineman-Multi Skills and 8,500 Technical Helpers will be trained to meet the requirement of power sector.
- The scheme funds the cost of last-mile connectivity to willing households to help achieve the goal of lighting every household by 31 December 2018.
- With no subsidy component for monthly electricity consumption, the Gram Panchayat and public institutions in the rural areas will be authorised to carry out billing and collection tasks which have been pain points for the discoms.
- States have also been provided with an incentive of 50% of their loan being converted to grants, if the electrification targets are met by 31 December 2018.
- To ensure on-the-spot registration, mobile applications will be used. While free connections will be provided to below poverty line (BPL) households, even those not covered under this category can avail it by paying Rs500 in 10 instalments of Rs50 each along with their monthly bill.
- For those household where the national electricity grid can’t reach, households will be provided with solar power packs along with battery banks. State-run Rural Electrification Corp. is the nodal agency for the scheme.
- The beneficiaries for free electricity connections will be identified using Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data.
- Despite the government’s aggressive village electrification programme, the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana launched in July 2015, under which 78% of 18,000 villages have been electrified, it was realised that the problem of electricity ‘access’ wasn’t resolved.
- A village is declared to be electrified if 10% of the households are given electricity along with public places such as schools, panchayat office, health centres, dispensaries and community centres.
- With a large number of household still remaining without access to electricity, the scheme aims at ensuring the coverage of households as opposed to only villages.
- It was seen that the electricity distribution companies (discoms) don’t want to supply to the villages even if the electrification has taken place. By providing electricity access to all households with prepaid and smart meters, demand will be created which in turn will force the discoms to supply to these villages.
- The scheme will help India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer after the US and China, to help meet its global climate change commitments as electricity will substitute kerosene for lighting purposes. Lighting in turn will also help in improving education, health, connectivity with the multiplier effect of increased economic activities and job creation.