#PolicyExplainer: Free electricity connections to un-electrified households under Saubhagya scheme
In India, despite the launch of a number of electrification schemes over the years, lakhs of households in rural and urban areas still lack access to electricity. To address this issue and provide electricity connections to such households, the Modi government launched the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, or Saubhagya scheme, in 2017. Here's all you want to know about Saubhagya Yojana.
The Modi government had launched the Saubhagya scheme in Sep'17 at a cost of Rs. 16,320 crore, of which Rs. 14,000 crore was proposed for rural households. It aims to provide last-mile electric connectivity to un-electrified rural and urban households. The original electrification completion date of Mar'19 was advanced to Dec'18. But recently, Power Minister RK Singh said it would be completed by Feb'19.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, all rural households, both BPL (Below Poverty Line) as well as APL (Above Poverty Line) families can avail free electricity connections, while in the urban areas, BPL families can get access to electricity.
Under the Saubhagya scheme, as mentioned earlier, all un-electrified in rural households and BPL households in urban areas are eligible for free electricity connections. Beneficiaries are identified based on 2011 Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data. However, other households can also get the connection for Rs. 500, which is payable to the concerned power distribution company in 10 installments along with monthly bills.
Under Saubhagya, DISCOMs (electricity distribution companies) organize camps for identifying beneficiaries and filling up of application forms. For faster enrollment of beneficiaries, on-the-spot registrations are done using modern IT technology with a web portal/mobile app. Applicant's photo, address, a copy of address and identification proof, etc. would be required. Gram Panchayats and other rural public institutions are also authorized to collect applications and documentation.
Eligible households would be provided with service cable line from nearest electric pole, energy meter installation, single light-point and mobile-charging-point wiring, free five-year repair and maintenance. Households also get five LED lamps, one AC power plug, and AC fan. Un-electrified households in remote/inaccessible areas get 200-300 Watt solar power packs (with battery bank), 5 LED lights, one DC power plug, and one DC fan.
At the time of launch of the scheme, there were about 4 crore un-electrified households, including 1 crore households covered under other projects. So, the remaining ones, 2.5 crore households in rural areas and 50 lakh in urban areas, were expected to be covered.