UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana- Saubhagya Scheme
With an aim to provide last mile electrical connectivity and ensure electrification of all the willing rural and urban households, the Prime Minister launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, also known as Saubhagya Scheme. The funds will be provided, largely by the central government to all the states and Union Territories. It mandates the states and Union Territories to complete all household electrification by 31st of December 2018. The scheme is in line with the Government’s agenda to provide 24/7 power for all by 2019.
- Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 will be used as the basis to determine the beneficiaries for free electricity connections.
- The other un-electrified households are required to bear a charge of Rs. 500 in order to get an electricity connection, which the electricity distribution companies of India (DISCOMS) would recover in 10 installments as a part of their electricity bill.
- The nodal agency for implementation of the scheme across the country would be – the Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC)
- Transformers, meters, wires and other such equipments will be made available at subsidized prices.
- For rural households without electricity in remote and inaccessible areas, solar power packs of 200Wp-300Wp with battery banks will be provided. The same would be repaired and maintained for 5 years from the date of installation. It will consist of a DC power plug, DC fan and five LED lights.
- Mobile application would be used for survey of households. It provides for on spot registration of identified beneficiaries by obtaining their application for electricity connection with identity proof and photograph.
- The Gram Panchayats or Public Institutions in rural areas are required to take care of the application process and documentation. They shall, in consultation with Panchayat Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies be authorized to distribute bills and collect revenue.
Implementation of the Saubhagya Scheme is expected to result in
- Reduced environmental degradation by ruling out the use of Kerosene for lighting purposes.
- Improved educational services.
- Improved health services.
- Improvement in communication.
- Improvement in public safety and quality of life, primarily for women.
- Increased employment opportunities.
- Increased economic activity.