Skip to main content

As 23% of India’s population is still thirsting for electricity, US foundation calls it a private business opportunity

By Our Representative
At a time when the Government of India (GoI) has claimed that 99.4% of the country's villages have been electrified, but the GoI's powerful thinktank electrification, Niti Aayog, has pointed out that there are 304 million people who still lack access to electricity in its draft National Energy Policy (NEP), released in mid-2017, top US business interests have begun to see it as an opportunity.
Dr Rajiv J Shah, current president of the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), who served as administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2010 to 2015, has strongly pitched for "the fundamental role of public-private partnership to lift millions of Indian households out of poverty" by providing them electricity.
Shah was speaking at the India Energy Access Summit in Delhi on February 12, following which, a day later, he met Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar. At both the spots, he stressed on the need for strong private partnership in India to electrify the country's rural households, even as suggesting, this has been demonstrated by RF investing nearly $150 million over the last 20 years "to impact the lives of the most vulnerable people in India."
Regretting that in India a village is deemed electrified even if only 10 percent of homes and a few rural institutions are connected, the top US philanthropic organization, which is running Smart Power India project has "appreciated" that the draft NEP recognizes “a need to redefine the concept of ‘electrification’ with the village being deemed completely electrified if and only if all households of a village have an electricity connection, which witnesses reliable supply of electricity at least for a set number of hours”.
Meanwhile, a writeup published in RF site and published as a blog, which Shah particularly focussed upon, has said, "The hope is that the 'set hours, will cover daily needs", adding, "With 23% of India’s population still thirsting for electricity and millions more receiving only poor and unreliable access, it would seem that India needs to rapidly add generation capacity."
Dr Rajiv J Shah
"However", the RF blog says, "This too presents a contradiction, in that India has significant generation capacity idling, with an aggregate capacity utilization of about 60%. So why not just d https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/blog/24x7-power-access-not-electrification/ irect the unused capacity to meet rural demand? Problem solved, right?", it asked.
"Simply put, it is not viable to distribute the access to the people who need it. Rural electricity supply and service costs are prohibitively high, while rural demand density is low and fragmented", the blog says, adding, "Furthermore, pilferage and losses are high and the tariffs are well below delivered cost. This is a huge disincentive for India’s debt-plagued state-owned distribution companies (DISCOMs)."
"The challenge is so large that a portfolio of approaches needs to be tested and deployed", the blog opines, adding, "New models of electricity distribution are emerging. In nearly 110 villages across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand state, more than 40,000 people have access to reliable grid-quality electricity from privately operated renewable energy mini-grids supported by RF's Smart Power India programme."
Pointing out that the draft NEP has also stressed the "need to incentivize the mini-grid sector by encouraging independent developers and supporting them to scale", the blog stresses, "Privatizing electricity distribution has proven successful in some Indian metros in improving quality, reliability, collection and loss reduction."
It adds, "More private players can be attracted to scale up mini-grid deployment if the government announces a national target for mini-grids along with a package of incentives. More importantly, public-private partnership pilots for rural electrification need to be modeled and tested in partnership with existing state DISCOMs to address the access challenge."
"Such partnerships forged in rural electrification can unleash on a large scale innovative business models, new technologies and operational efficiencies to make a breakthrough in bridging India’s chronic energy access gap. It could help realize the national goal of “24×7 Power for All” by 2022", it believes.

Comments

TRENDING

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Mayawati's 'success' depends on how BSP taps new crop of young Amdekarite leaders

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Whatever be the election results in Uttar Pradesh on March 10, it is extremely important to understand: that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its leader Mayawati have the potential to rise like a Phoenix any time.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

India's actual Covid death rate about 2500 per million, third highest in world: Study

By Rajiv Shah  There is now well-researched proof, if it can be called that, indicating that the Government of India may have fudged data to show lower Covid death rate. A new paper, published in “Science”, has said that while officially the Government of India’s Covid-related death estimates as of January 1, 2022 – 345 per million population – are one-seventh of the US death rate, the actual analysis of crude death rate in India suggests, this may be a gross underestimation. 

Democratic leaders silently greeting Modi's 'increasingly autocratic' rule: HRW

Counterview Desk The Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s new “World Report 2022: Events of 2021”, claiming to “investigate abuses, expose facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice”, has identified India as one of the countries where “autocracy is ascendant and democracy on the decline” because of emergence of leaders with autocratic tendencies.

Barbaric, inhuman attack on Odisha villagers to implement JSW project: NGO networks

Counterview Desk  A “solidarity statement" issued by three top civil society networks, Friends of the Earth India (FoE India), Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has asked the Odisha chief minister to ensure that the “inhumane barbaric attack on the villagers of Dhinkia, Odisha” in order to implement a corporate project.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."