Skip to main content

Modi's Saubhagya is old wine in new bottle, "copies" 2005 UPA rural electrification scheme for "willing" households

By Our Representative
Old wine in new bottle -- this is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new scheme, Saubhagya, is being described by knowledgeable circles. The "new scheme", seeking to provide free power connection to what are called "willing households", is called Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or Saubhagya, and is nothing but just a copy of a scheme launched by the then UPA government in April 2005.
Called RGGVY (Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana), the 2005 scheme had sought to provide benefits to households below the poverty line (BPL) through a free connection but chargeable consumption of power. In a span of eight years, till January 2013, RGGVY provided free power connection to more than two crore people.
The principal aims of RGGVY were implemented since 2005 were (1) Electrifying all villages and habitations as per new definition. (2) Providing access to electricity to all rural households. (3)Providing electricity connection to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families free of charge.
The view is strong: Compared with RGGVY there is nothing new in Saughagya, except what are described as “willing households”. RGGVY was "subsumed" by Modi in another scheme he launched three years ago, soon after he became to power, the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) in July 2015.
"The DDUGJY is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Power and will facilitate 24x7 supply of power", a 2015 Government of India note explains, pointing out, "DDUGJY Scheme approved by the Union Government draws its inspiration from the similar pioneering scheme implemented by the Government of Gujarat."
DDUGJY, the note said, "Focuses on feeder separation (rural households and agricultural) and strengthening of sub-transmission & distribution infrastructure including metering at all levels in rural areas. This will help in providing round the clock power to rural households and adequate power to agricultural consumers."
"The earlier scheme for rural electrification viz RGGVY, has been subsumed in the new scheme as its rural electrification component", the note underlined.
Modi's "new" scheme, Saubhagya, launched with an allocation of Rs 16,320-crore to supply electricity to all households by December 2018, i.e. ahead of the scheduled Lok Sabha pols in April-May 2019, like RGGVY, provided free connections to the poor and at very low cost to others.
It has been launched because DDUGJY provided power to 78% of the 18,000 villages, which were without any electricity connection, but it was realised that the problem of electricity ‘access’ wasn’t resolved. Under DDUGJY, a village would be 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.
Between 2005-2012, during the tenure of the UPA government, 104,496 villages were electrified and connections were provided to 21.5 million households. Of these, 19 million households were provided free connections. When the Modi government announced the new avatar of the rural electrification scheme, only 18,452 villages remained without power. 
The Saughagya scheme has been launched because as of today, according to government data, there are 40.53 million households without electricity connections. Of India’s 606,172 villages, there are fewer than 200,000 villages in which all houses have electricity connections.
The has been also launched as it was found that the electricity distribution companies 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 would be created which in turn would force distribution companies to supply power to these villages.
Interestingly, there is no subsidy component in Saubhagya, with the Gram Panchayat and public institutions in the rural areas authorised to carry out billing and collection tasks.
Under Saubhagya, while free connections are to be provided to below poverty line (BPL) households, like RGGVY, those not covered under this category can avail it by paying Rs 500 in 10 instalments of Rs 50 each along with their monthly bill.

Comments

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.