Credit where it’s due. The government deserves applause for an unprecedented electrification drive under Saubhagya; though India is still away from achieving universal electrification. Although 26 million homes were electrified since October 2017, the scheme only included “willing households”. The number of households unwilling to accept a connection under Saubhagya remains unquantified. A 2018 study based on a survey of over 9,000 households in Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal—revealed that 2% of rural households were unwilling to take up free-of-cost connections, and that high recurring cost was cited as a barrier to electrification by 88% of them. Even among electrified households, 16 per cent were unsatisfied due to high costs.
While the government now sets sight on providing 24×7 power for all, two key questions remain: Will the recently connected households be able and willing to regularly pay their electricity dues? Read more
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