New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reviewed India’s key infrastructure sectors of power, renewable energy, petroleum and natural gas, coal; the government said in a statement.
“India’s energy deficit, which stood at over 4% in 2014, has shrunk to less than 1% in 2018,” the statement said while adding, “India now ranks 26th in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Getting Electricity’ Index, up from 99th in 2014.”
This comes in the backdrop of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) plan to showcase its success to reach 24x7 power to all in the country. Accordingly, one district will be identified in consultation with the Union ministry of power and the state government and supplied round the clock electricity, Mintreported on 24 July.
“Progress in household electrification under the SAUBHAGYA initiative, was reviewed. Discussions also focused on last mile connectivity and distribution, in both urban and rural areas,” the statement added.
The government had set a target to achieve universal household electrification by 31 March 2019. With electricity reaching all census villages, the government’s focus is now on providing electricity connections under ₹ 16,320 crore Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, or the Saubhagya scheme. The government plans to provide electricity connections to 40 million Indian homes by December 2018.
“Officials expressed confidence that India is on track to comfortably achieve the Prime Minister’s target of 175 GigaWatts (GW) renewable energy capacity by 2022,” the statement added.
This assumes significance given that India is now the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, and has made green energy a focus area to help reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030. New Delhi is working towards meeting its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.
Of India’s installed power generation capacity of 344 GW, renewable energy accounts for around 70 GW. Of this green energy, solar accounts for 22 GW.
“In the petroleum and natural gas sector, it was noted that targets set under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will be comfortably achieved in the current financial year,” the statement added.
In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to reap political dividends from successful programmes such as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Saubhagya scheme.
Ujjwala aims to provide free cooking gas connections to poor families. The flagship programme, launched on 1 May 2016, aims to safeguard the health of women and children, with its ambit been expanded to include 80 million poor families. As on 8 August, 50.8 million households got access to cooking gas under the scheme covering 715 districts.