In present times “˜Bijli, Sadak and Pani”™ have found a place in the list of basic needs of humans. The Narendra Modi government has laid emphasis on infrastructure development which is of utmost importance for growth and industrialisation. The thrust on electrification of the country with a special focus on rural and semi-urban areas has been one of the cornerstones of the present government. Electricity is an important factor for the both agriculture as well as industrial development.

Pre-2014 scenario

As is well known, the COALGATE scam brought the coal mining to a grinding halt following the Supreme Court orders. This directly affected electricity production as most of our electricity generation depends on coal block mining. It is hardly surprising that Gujarat was the only power surplus state.

A number of other issues plagued the power sector including poor infrastructure, lack of connectivity between power suppliers and end users, demand-supply gap, primitive mining techniques and power thefts among others. It is worth noting here that 15% of the country”™s power supply comes from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

Mission Electrification

As mentioned earlier the present government shifted the focus towards infrastructure development and in keeping with that line of thought PM Modi emphasised on complete electrification of both urban as well as rural areas.

Piyush Goyal, MoS (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines had the challenging task of allotting coal blocks, removing hurdles in rural electrification and ensuring the implementation of PM”™s vision. The vastness of the country and a complete lack of basic infrastructure make the task all the more difficult.

Transparency

One of the drawbacks of government schemes has been the lack of transparency. We live in the internet age and therefore the people in general and the youth in particular find lack of transparency quite disconcerting. However, the good news is that the Modi government believes in “˜Minimum Government and Maximum Governance”™.

The power ministry has placed all information in the public domain. Thereby making it easier for the public to learn about the progress made with respect to targets set and/achieved. What”™s more? There is even real time tracking of electrification work undertaken and completed. The aim is not only to bridge the demand supply gap but also plug the gaps leading to pilferation and power thefts.

Miles to go

The good news is that for the first time in decades the country won”™t be facing power deficit which was as high as 13% about a decade back. Although the figures have been averaged out, thus still leaving the possibility of states facing shortages in varying degrees, it is still an achievement considering the dismal power situation of the past.

It may be too early to rest on one”™s laurels but one thing is certain- the right steps are being taken to bring electricity to rural and urban Indians. The best thing is that there is an emphasis on both renewable and non-renewable sources of energy. This will boost agriculture as well as industry thereby ensuring jobs for the scores of people in India”™s hinterlands.

Websites for tracking power situation in the country:-

1) http://www.ddugjy.in/

2) http://urjaindia.co.in/


Latha Iyer

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