Agricultural Revolution Around The Corner : Piyush Goyal To Announce Smart Pumps Scheme For Indian Farmers On April 7 in Andhra Pradesh; Scheme To Empower Farmers With Smart SIM-enabled Agricultural Pumps That Can Be Operated By Farmers From Mobiles And In The Comfort of Their Homes

Agricultural Revolution Around The Corner : Piyush Goyal To Announce Smart Pumps Scheme For Indian Farmers On April 7 in Andhra Pradesh; Scheme To Empower Farmers With Smart SIM-enabled Agricultural Pumps That Can Be Operated By Farmers From Mobiles And In The Comfort of Their Homes

Anupama Airy

In what will help the country save close to Rs 20,000 crore annually on agricultural subsidies, the power, coal and RE minister, Piyush Goyal on April 7th will unveil a trend-setting scheme for Indian farmers that will help in replacement of the 20 million age-old agricultural pumps across the country with the new-age SIM enabled energy efficient agricultural pumps, with a 5-Star Rating.

These Agricultural Pumps will come enabled with smart control panel and a SIM card, giving farmers the flexibility to switch-on and switch-off these pumps from their mobile phones and from the comfort of their homes.

That’s not all. Along with the announcement of the new-age agricultural pumps, Goyal through its state owned entity–EESL will also launch another scheme for Indian households and businesses to provide Energy Efficient 5-star rated, 50 Watts Ceiling Fans (from leading companies such as Usha and Bajaj) at less than Rs 60 a month.

The roll-out of both these schemes will be done by power minister, Piyush Goyal from Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh and in the presence of Chief Minister Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Significantly, these schemes come close to the nation-wide success of the LED bulbs scheme, that has seen distribution of 9 crore LED bulbs lighting Indian homes and streets in less than two years.

Speaking to EnergyInfraPost.com ahead of this mega roll-out, power, coal and RE minister, Piyush Goyal said, “Our larger focus is on agricultural pumps. India uses some 20 million very old age agricultural pumps which are energy guzzlers…then there are another 10 million agriculture pumps, which are working on diesel or other forms of power…so our effort is to make these old pumps energy efficient and replace diesel will electrified pumps in the next 3-4 years.”

“Lot of background work has gone into this effort including quality specifications, on making this program economically viable and independent of government subsidies and be a win-win for all stakeholders.”

The New Age SIM-enabled Agricultural Pumps

Subsidies are big drain on the country’s economy and India spends close to Rs 65,000 crores towards agricultural subsidies every year. There are 20 million grid connected energy-guzzling agricultural pumps in India consuming 170 billion units of electricity every year.

Frequent break down of these pumps causes inconvenience to farmers besides these old archaic pumps consume higher electricity, thereby putting a burden on the exchequer for a higher agricultural subsidy dole out.

Through these new-age energy efficient SIM-enabled agricultural pumps, Goyal is looking at a 30% savings in energy by 2019. This will then boil down to an annual savings of Rs 20,000 crore on agricultural subsidies or a saving of 50 billion units of energy every year.

These energy-efficient pumps have a smart panel that has a sim-card and a smart meter that will provide ease of operation to farmers who can switch on or switch off these pumps through the mobile besides helping him monitor consumption on real time basis through the smart meters.

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“Under the scheme on distribution of new age agricultural pumps, we aim to distribute one million such energy-efficient pumps in the current financial year..it could even be higher. The launch of these pumps is happening from Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh (where 0.2 million or 2 lakh pumps will be distributed) and will be followed by distribution of these pumps in Maharashtra (where 0.5 million or 5 lakh pumps will be distributed)…we are looking at a total of one million or 10 lakh pumps across the nation in the current financial year and this could even go upto 15-16 lakh or 1.5-1.6 million pumps also,” Managing Director of Energy Efficiency  Services Limited (EESL), Saurabh Kumar told EnergyInfraPost.com

The Smart 5-Star Rated Agricultural Pumps

·         Farmer does not pay anything for these Smart Pumps
·         Pumps to Come With Smart Control Panes that has a SIM card and a Smart Meter
·         Smart Control Panel will enable a framer to switch on or switch off these pumps through his mobile and sitting at the comfort of his home
·         Smart meters to ensure the farmers to monitor consumption on real time basis
·         State-governments to Save 30% energy if the present age-old agri pumps are replaced with these smart pumps. This means that on an annual agricultural subsidy bill of Rs 65,000 crore, a 30% energy savings would mean a hefty cut in India’s agricultural subsidy by almost Rs 20,000 crore

“We are starting with Andhra Pradesh (which has seen a lot of success in the LED bulbs and street light program)  and after getting a sense of demand and feedback from the customers then we will scale it up to very large levels as we did with our LED programme,” Goyal added.

After Andhra Pradesh, the scheme will be extended to Maharashtra followed by other states. These new age efficient pumps will come with a five-year warranty, will spare the farmer of cost of repair and maintenance during the warranty period.

“The energy saved from distribution of one million or 10 lakh pumps will be 3600 units annually…we are involving the state-governments in this scheme and the energy saved will help pay for these pumps in 3-4 years,” Saurabh Kumar said.

The Energy-Efficient Ceiling Fans Scheme

Imagine buying the latest 5-star rated energy efficient ceiling fan for your home at an instalment of just Rs 55-60 a month and that too without any extra paper work, as this instalment can be paid as part of your monthly electricity bill.

With the usage of these energy efficient fans, consumers will also stand to save on their electricity bills by Rs 700 a year. This means, a consumer can recover the cost of this energy-efficient ceiling fan in less than 2 years.

While these energy-efficient ceiling fans will cost Rs 1,390 to a consumer who uses the instalment route, for those who can pay upfront can buy this fan for Rs 1250. A total of two ceiling fans can be bought on one electricity bill.

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Energy-Efficient, 50 Watts and 5-Star Rated Ceiling Fans

·         A 5-Star rated fan can be bought at a monthly instalment of just Rs 55, a scheme that will cost the consumer Rs 1,390 for each fan, spread over 2 years.
·         Consumers can also make an upfront payment of Rs 1,250 for these 50 watts fan that will save him Rs 700 annually—which means that the cost of this fan can be recovered in less than 2 years.
·         Two lakh fans to be distributed in Andhra Pradesh within a year and about 20 lakh fans across India
·         Fans being procured from leading companies such as Usha and Bajaj
·         Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Jharkhand to be covered within 3-4 months along with extending the roll out in other states

Presently, about 3 crore fans are sold in India every year. Average rating of fans installed in the country are 70-80 watts, out of which only 10% fans are star-labelled. If you talk about 50 watt 5-star rated fans, this number is even lower. If a consumer replaces his 70-80 watt fan with the energy-efficient 5-star rated 50 watt fan, there will be a savings of 30 watts of energy that translates to Rs 700 savings in electricity bills every year, said Saurabh Kumar of EESL.

On the energy efficient ceiling fans scheme, Saurabh Kumar told EnergyInfraPost.com that the procurement cost of these fans is around Rs 955, which after adding taxes and distribution costs will be retailed at a price of around Rs 1250. “Consumers will be given two options—to pay upfront for Rs 1250 a fan or pay in instalments of Rs 55-60 for two years. The second option will cost the consumer around RS 1390 a fan. A savings of 30 watt will mean an annual savings of Rs 700 a year thereby helping consumer to recover the cost in less than two years.”

Energy-Efficient Air Conditioners

About 10% of India’s cooling needs are being met through air-conditioners. While the government has decided to first prioritise ceiling fans, the scheme will also cover air-conditioners going forward.

“For Air conditioners, there is still more work to be done and we are examining what will be the savings and confirmation of payback…basically how well we can manage that system,” Goyal said.

Saurabh Kumar of EESL said they were in talks with companies for offering super-efficient invertor – air conditioners in Delhi and Mumbai. “We are in talks with the Room Air-Conditioners Manufactures Association (RAMA)  which has all large AC manufacturing companies under its fold,” he added.

The LED Bulbs Scheme

Goyal said he is looking at reducing energy consumption on the lighting side by as much as 112 billion units (or 11,000 crore units) by 2019. This, he said, will be achieved through the distribution of 80 crore LED bulbs by 2019 that would include 770 million LED bulbs for home and 35 million LED street lights.

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“Once we complete the LED programme by 2019, we would have distributed 770 million LED bulbs and reduced the energy consumption, only on the lighting side (Street and home lights), by 112 billion units or 11,000 crore units resulting in a savings of 40,000 cr for the consumers or about $6.5 billion,” the minister said.

As on March 31, 2016, distribution of over 9 crore energy efficient LED bulbs across the nation has already been achieved under the ministry’s scheme— UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for all), with distribution of these LED bulbs is being carried out by Energy Efficiency  Services Limited (EESL).

EESL distributed 1 crore LED bulbs in 13 days. Distribution of over 9 crore LED bulbs across the nation has resulted in an estimated daily energy savings of 3.2 crore kWh. The average distribution during this period was about 8,00,000 LEDs per day.

The 9th crore bulb was distributed on the evening of March 31st 2016…in the presence of the power minister, Piyush Goyal.

The UJALA scheme is fully operational in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand.

More states and union territories will be launching the national programme shortly, a statement said. The UJALA scheme-being implemented by EESL- has been widely accepted across rural and urban areas of the country.

“We are climbing new heights every day, the 9th crore is special for us because it reflects the commitment of the organisation, commitment of the government and the significant contribution of the consumers,” Goyal said.

“It is heart-warming to see scores of people come forward and participate in this scheme. I will urge more and more people to join the movement.”

Anupama Airy
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Anupama Airy

Founder and Editor at EnergyInfraPost
Independent Journalist and Energy Expert.​ (Worked with leading mainline financial and national daily for 23 years.​)​ Also, Guest Contributor with busines​sinsider.in
Currently, Writing a Book for Penguin India Titled Greased Pole:How Politics and Lobbying Stifled India’s Energy Dreams. The author can be reached on anupama.airy@gmail.com (9810661825)​
Anupama Airy
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