TOPIC : by Jaideep Mukherji, CEO, Smart Power India.
India currently reports 99.4% electrification, yet there are 304 million people who still lack access to electricity according to the recent draft of the National Energy Policy (NEP) issued by the government’s policy thinktank NITI Aayog.
How does one resolve this paradox?
In most countries, electrification means not only being connected to the grid but also providing homes and businesses sufficient electricity access to meet their daily needs. However, in India, the definition of electrification in rural areas, where most of the unelectrified population lives, has been detached from the actual supply of electricity to households.
A village is deemed electrified even if only 10 percent of homes and a few rural institutions are connected.
It is heartening 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.” The hope is that the “set hours” will cover daily needs.