Rural electrification: Centre’s claim exaggerated

Unelectrified villages have been counted as electrified.

Unelectrified villages have been counted as electrified.

The Centre’s claim to have electrified more than 7,000 of the estimated 18,452 unelectrified villages in the last financial year seems vastly exaggerated.

Ironically, the figures available on the GARV website ( show that unelectrified villages have been counted as electrified. (A village is classified as electrified if public places and 10 per cent of its households have access to electricity.)

The data available on the website, supplemented by conversations with Gram Vidyut Abhiyantas (GVAs) — who are deployed by the government on field to monitor the electrification process — show that many villages across the country with no electrical infrastructure or electricity connections have been classified as electrified.

As many as 342 villages were labelled “e0” — or classified as unelectrified — but were calculated as part of the total tally of electrified villages.

Further, as of March 10, 2016, around 300 villages were declared as electrified based solely on the discom’s (power distribution company) word, without any verification from GVAs, raising questions about the effectiveness of the monitoring system.

Of the 7,000 villages said to be electrified, 3,604 have been marked — “Village found electrified during the survey” — which means they were already electrified when the GVAs made their first visit. This suggests that the Centre’s list of 18,452 unelectrified villages — prepared in consultation with State governments — was an overestimate.

During a visit to three villages in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, The Hindu found that while two of them had poles but no electricity connections, one didn’t even have electrical infrastructure. Yet, all three have been marked as electrified in the government’s books. An email seeking a response from the Rural Electrification Corporation a week ago (19th March, 2016) along with a detailed questionnaire remained unanswered.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2022 8:59:32 pm |