Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a new phase of India’s universal electrification program, saying that state’s would be required to electrify all households by March 31, 2019 and committing 163.2 billion rupees ($2.5 billion) for the program, with 86% of that going to rural electrification.
India’s next elections take place in 2019. Modi’s government had already committed to complete village electrification by December 2017, and the prime minister reiterated that target. Currently, a village is deemed “electrified” even if as few as 10% of homes get power, although the government’s think tank NITI Aayog recently recommended that the definition be changed to 100% of homes receiving “reliable supply for a set number of hours”. It is unclear if that is the same goal of the new initiative, named “Saubhagya”.
Modi said the new plan will be 60% funded by the central government, with states contributing 10% and 30% coming from loans.
For some states designated “special category”, the government will grant 85% of the investment, with the states contributing just 5%.
According to Indian media reports, electricity connections will be given to Above Poverty Line (APL) families for 500 rupees, payable in 10 equal monthly instalments. Electricity connections to Below Poverty Line will get free connections.