(GIST OF YOJANA) Universal Village Electrification in 1000 Days : The Journey [JULY-2018]

(GIST OF YOJANA) Universal Village Electrification in 1000 Days : The Journey


Universal Village Electrification in 1000 Days : The Journey

Electricity is one of the basic necessities for all of us now. Imagine a scenario living in 21“century without electricity. Ensuring universal electricity access has been a cherished goal of the Government and lots of efforts have been made in this regard. The Prime Minister in his address to the nation from the ram pants of Red Fort on the occasion of Independence Day on 15th August 2015 announced that the remaining 18,500 odd un-electrified villages in the country would be electrified within the next 1,000 days. Ministry of Power was assigned the task to complete electrification of all these remaining un-electrified villages within the targeted time frame.

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)

The scheme envisages (i) electrification of un-electrified villages, (ii) intensive electrification of already electrified villages to provide access to households, (iii) strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure to improve quality and reliability of power supply, (iv) feeder separation to provide assured power supply to farmers and (v) metering of feeders, distribution transformers and consumers to facilitate energy audit and reduction of losses. The erstwhile rural electrification scheme was subsumed in DDUGJY as a separate. rural electrification component. The total outlay of the scheme is Rs.75893 crore with Gross Budgetary Support from Government of India of Rs. 6,3027 crore. Projects sanctioned under the scheme are under various stages of implementation.

Planning and Strategy

The task of electrification of all remaining un-electrified villages was taken up under the scheme of DDUGJY in a mission mode. The pace of village electrification got very slow in the 3 years prior to 2015-16 (201213: 2587, 2013-14: 1197, 2014-15: 1405) which implied that business as usual approach would have taken another 10 years for completion of village electrification.

Therefore, detail consultations were done with all the stakeholders to understand the present scenario, availability of resources, possible remedial measures to accelerate the progress, monitoring mechanism etc. and this gave rise to new ideas, strategy and approach. These Include: Enablers >Funds > Handholding > Monitoring.

Proper identification of villages with Census 2011 Code: All States were requested to identify remaining un-electrified villages with census code of 2011 to exactly find out the name, geographical location, demography etc. for robust planning. Prior to this program, generally the progress used to be monitored in terms of number of villages.

Solar PV based off-grid solutions for remote / inaccessible villages: It was observed that many of these remaining un-electrified villages are located in remote areas, areas with difficult terrain in snow bound hills or in deep forest and in Left Wing Extremism affected areas etc. Reaching these villages, transportation of material and erection of necessary electricity infrastructure was a real challenge. Therefore, it was decided that in or cost effective, such villages would be electrified through off-grid mode using Solar Photovoltaic based solutions. Accordingly, projects were sanctioned for off-grid villages also under DDUGJY.

Standard Bidding Documents and e-tender were focused on.

Innovative Financing: as the pace of work increased there was a need to ensure availability of funds to states under the scheme. In addition to the budgetary support, Ministry of Finance also allowed Ministry of Power to raise money from the market, in the form of bonds, through financial institutions like PFC and REC, so that adequate fund is available with states for execution of the work. Rs 9000 cr were raised in the last two financial years through this Extra budgetary Resources (EBR).

Flexibility to States for execution of works:

Considering the diverse geographical, demographic and other conditions, it was felt that a strait jacket approach or one size fits all may not work and therefore, States were given adequate liberty to execute projects on turnkey /partial turnkey / departmental mode as per the suitability and their choice.

Handholding States/Discoms: necessary help was provided to the states/discom wherever required. Nodal agency opened its office in almost all states, deputed its senior officers to interact with the state on daily basis and provide help in organising and getting things done. In order to strengthen and augment capacities of the State DISCOMS / Power Deptt., REC appointed Gram Vidyut Abhiyanta at block/district level to assist them in monitoring and expeditious implementation of the program. These GVAs are graduate engineers from local areas to assist DISCOMS in extensive 6 field monitoring.

Mlilestone based monitoring: The entire process of village electrification was divided in 12 steps / milestones with stipulated timelines for monitoring and capturing progress. These milestones include the entire process right from award of work, survey, material procurement, material delivery at site, erection and commissioning and energisation etc. Rigourous use of proj ect management tools was undertaken to ensure completion of project and energization of village.

Transparency and accountability: To ensure transparency and dissemination of information to public at large with regard to process and progress on electrification of these villages,
mobile App “Garv” was launched. Dissemination of information in public domain also created an environment of enhanced accountability in the system.

Implementation Challenges and Remedial Measures

It is worthwhile to mention that most of these remaining villages were located in remote and inaccessible areas with difficult hilly terrain, deep forest areas, Left Wing Extremism affected areas. Thus, the most important aspect of this village electrification program was to overcome all such challenges which stood as a major barrier in extending electricity to the poor people of this country for about 70 years after independence. The difficulty level further enhanced as the States moved further. The major challenges involved were as under:

Inaccessibility and non-feasibility of conventional Grid system: 2,762 villages

Difficult hilly terrain: 245 villages (J&K-54, Arunachal Pradesh-182, Meghalaya-9)

Head loading of materials over 1-10 days: 102 villages (Arunachal-90, Manipur12)

Material transportation by choppers: 51 villages (J&K-35, Arunachal Pradesh-16)

Areas affected wlth Left Wing Extremism (LWE) activities: 7614 villages (Bihar 1044, Jharkhand 2478, Chhattisgarh 1051, Madhya Pradesh 14, Odisha 3027)

Forest clearance: 415 villages (J harkhandl 55, Uttarakhand-23, Odisha-45, Assam-32, Madhya Pradesh1 60)

Railway Clearance: 38 villages (Bihar-37 & Assam-1)

The dynamism of this assignment can be gauged from the fact that during the execution process, 9 States reported another 1227 census villages which they found un-electrified. Electrification of all such villages was also taken up promptly. Out of these, 1193 villages have been electrified and remaining 34 vill ges vere found uninhabited.

Government of India and World Bank sign $500 Million Additional Financing for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana Rural Roads Project

The Government of India and the World Bank recently signed a $500 million loan agreement to provide additional financing for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) Rural Roads Project, implemented by Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India, which will build 7,000 km of climate resilient roads, out of which 3,500 km will be constructed using green technologies. The World Bank has supported PMGSY since its inception in 2004. So far it has invested over $1.8 billion in loans and credits mostly in the economically weaker and hill states across North India Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. It has built and improved about 35,000 km of rural roads and benefited about eight million people with access to all-weather roads.

Adequate maintenance of the existing 4.6 million km of road network is emerging as a major challenge. Many parts of the existing road network are either vulnerable to or have already suffered damage from climate induced events such as floods, high rainfall, sudden cloud bursts and land-slides.

The PMGSY and the Bank’s involvement under this additional financing will emphasize on managing the rural road network through green and climate-resilient construction using green, low-carbon designs and new technologies far beyond merely funding civil works. This will be done through the following measures:

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  • Climate vulnerability assessment during the design process to identify the critical locations affected by floods, water logging, submergence, cloud bursts, storms, landslides, poor drainage, excessive erosion, high rainfall, and high temperatures.

  • Special treatment for flood-affected areas through adequate waterways and submersible roads to allow easy passage of water, use of concrete block pavements, and improved drainage;

  • Use of environmentally optimized road designs and new technologies which uses local and marginal materials and industrial by-products such as sand, local soils, liy ash, brick kiln wastes, and other similar materials in place of crushed rocks;

  • Innovative bridges and culverts through use of pre-fabricated/pre-cast units for roads and bridges having better ability to withstand earthquakes and water forces such as continuous beams, bearing free construction, and river training works;

  • Use of hill cutting material in hill roads ensuring its productive use and resolving its disposal problem, use of bio-engineering measures, improved drainage and other treatments for landslide prone areas and providing adequate slope protection.

The Additional Financing will also fill the gender gap by creating employment opportunities for women in construction and maintenance. The earlier project had piloted community-based maintenance contracts through women self-help groups (SHGs) for routine maintenance of 200 km of PMGSY roads in Uttarakhand, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh. SHG-run maintenance contracts will now be exten o ‘d to about 500 km roads over 5 states. The $500 million loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 3-year grace period, and a maturity of 10 years.

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