On 28 April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the country’s last village without electricity had been electrified. This is a stunning achievement and crowns a decade of efforts. But how does it compare to the rest of South Asia?
New data that we collected for the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) show that India’s remarkable progress is part of a broader trend toward universal electrification in the region. Yet that energy access would improve was not a given. It was driven by ambitious and well-designed policies.
Our new data show how daunting the problem of electrification was just thirty years ago. Electricity poverty was rampant across South Asia. In India, only 20 per cent of all households (and 15 per cent in rural areas) were connected to the grid. The scale of the problem was staggering.
Yet India has made remarkable progress since then. The latest data suggest that household electrification rates in India have reached about 90 per cent. Beyond the abstract numbers, hundreds of millions of individuals gained access to electric power and the benefits that come with it. Read More