The government’s ambitious plan to build the country’s rural electricity infrastructure under the Bharat Nirman programme is miserably short of its target. Four years after its launch, only seven of the 27 participating states have finalised plans. The scheme is to end in March-April 2009.
“At present only Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have finalised their plans,” the Planning Commission said in a note before a meeting with the Cabinet Secretariat and Chief Secretaries last
Other factors leading to slowing down of the programme — to electrify all villages and all below-poverty-line households across the country — include a delay in taking over of physical assets by state utilities from Central public sector undertakings, which have implemented the schemes on their behalf, the note said.
In December, DNA had reported that the government has been able to provide electricity to only 41.31 lakh hitherto un-electrified households living below the poverty line, against its target to provide free electricity to all the 2.34 crore such households.
It has been able to electrify only 53,310 hitherto un-electrified villages in little less than four years, much less than half of its target of all the 1,25,000 villages in the country through the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) launched in April 2005, now under the ambit of Bharat Nirman.
Non-finalisation of the list of “below poverty line” households by Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh state governments also hampered in implementing the RGGVY programme, the Planning Commission’s note said.
“Overall, in the RGGVY scheme, 558 projects worth Rs 25,679.60 crore have been sanctioned but awards are yet to be placed by Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Tripura, which needs to expedited,” the note added.
The state-run Rural Electrification Corporation is the nodal agency implementing the RGGVY programme with a total outlay of Rs 33,000 crore, with assistance in implementation from the state-run companies including NTPC, Power Grid Corporation of India, NHPC and Damodar Valley Corporation. It may be noted that out of India’s 13.8 crore households, 7.8 crore were un-electrified as per the 2001 census. The government has electrified only 49 lakh households so far. The remaining 7.3 crore households, though not under the purview of Bharat Nirman programme yet remain to be electrified by 2012 as per the ministry of power’s mission to provide “power to all by 2012”.