85% of India's population has access to electricity: World Bank
India is doing "extremely well" on electrification with nearly 85% of the country's population having access to electricity, the World Bank said in its latest report. Between 2010 and 2016, India provided electricity to 30 million people each year, more than any other country. The report comes less than a week after PM Narendra Modi announced that all villages in India have been electrified.
While challenges still remain to provide electricity to the rest of 15% of the 1.25 billion population, India is all set to achieve the target of universal access to electricity before the 2030 target date, Vivien Foster, Lead Energy Economist at World Bank said. This figure, she pointed out, is higher than that of the Indian government, which is currently reporting in low 80s.
While World Bank's methodology is based on the household survey, which includes even those who are off grid, the figures of the government are based on official utility connection, Foster said. However, India is not the fastest country in electrification. Bangladesh and Kenya, for example, are faster in electrification than India, Foster noted. India, she said, is now entering the final stage of electrification.
"You are already well over 80%, so you're getting into more difficult aspects of electrification: the more remote population, the harder to reach people. However, reliability of service is an area of concern for India," Foster said adding that having the connection doesn't guarantee the energy's reliable supply. India still has a long-way to go for making the access meaningful in terms of hours-of-service.
Referring to India's tremendous electrification effort, the report said it expects 250mn people gaining electricity access between now and early 2020s when the country reaches full access. The rapid growth of electricity access is propelled by country's $2.5bn electrification programs to reach universal electrification.