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Govt to allocate Rs75,600 crore for rural electrification: Goyal

Livemint:  September, 2014

New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government plans to spend Rs.75,600 crore to supply electricity through separate feeders for agricultural and rural domestic consumption, aimed at providing round-the-clock power to village households.

This outlay also includes expenditure towards an integrated power development initiative, which involves strengthening sub-transmission and distribution systems.

While Rs.43,000 crore has been earmarked for the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana for feeder separation, Rs.32,600 crore is the outlay for strengthening sub-transmission and distribution systems, including 100% metering and underground cabling, said Piyush Goyal, Union minister for power, coal and new and renewable energy.

Separating electricity feeders is aimed at ensuring that while farmers get the desired amount of electricity, the quality of power and its availability for households improves. It will also ensure that users are billed and technical and commercial losses because of theft are reduced.

The scheme is based on an initiative called Jyotigram Yojana in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat and is named after late Deendayal Upadhyaya, a leader of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). State-owned Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd (REC) is the nodal agency for the ambitious scheme.

"Power is a vital input for economic growth and the government is committed to providing 24x7 uninterrupted power supply to all homes. Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana for feeder separation will be launched to augment power supply to the rural areas and for strengthening sub-transmission and distribution systems," Union finance minister Arun Jaitley had said in his 10 July budget speech.

According to the World Bank, India's per capita power sector consumption of around 800 kilowatt hours is among the lowest in the world. Around 600 million Indians do not have access to electricity and about 700 million Indians use biomass as their primary energy resource for cooking, according to the Planning Commission.