Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced new scheme “Saubhagya” to provide free electricity connections to four crore rural homes, saying it would ensure power in every village and every home in New India.
The decision would cost the government Rs 16,000 crore which will not be passed on to the poor, Modi said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a function to launch “Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna” or Saubhagya — the scheme for easy availability of electricity in every household on the birth anniversary of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay.
Modi, who also dedicated a new ONGC building (the Deendayal Urja Bhawan and Booster Compressor Facility in Bassein Gas Field), said while the nation was speedily moving towards “one nation, one grid, one price” while Saubhagya will help provide electricity to all the homes in the country and its launch is reflection of steps being taken towards an energy revolution.”
“There are four crore families which do not have electricity, not to talk of bulb. No money will be charged from any poor person for electricity connection. The government will give the connection at your doorstep,” Modi said.
“Not only every village, every house will also have power connection in new India,” he added.
The scheme is aimed at providing electricity connection to every household in the country by March 31, 2019.
Modi said he had to study in the light of lamp in his childhood and therefore, could understand the difficulties of four crore families that do not have access to power.
Women in families without electricity connections were forced to complete their work before sunset and could not venture out in evening hours, he said.
He also attacked the Congress, saying there had been reports of grid collapse and coal shortages during the UPA government, but now “there is a new approach, new policies and multidimensional steps”.
Referring to his government’s achievements, he said coal production has been increased by 93 million tonnes in the last three years compared to 34 million tonnes in six years of UPA till 2015, rankings of ease of doing business in power sector have gone up from 99 in 2015 to 26 now.
He said installed power capacity has gone up by 60,000 MW in the last three years, which was 12 percent above target, while renewable energy capacity had doubled in the last three years and a capacity of 27,000 MW has been added.
He said the government has worked to expand transmission network and Rs 1.5 lakh crore had been spent on such projects.