Last Indian village now hooked up to power grid, says govt

An India Commercial Services worker installing an electricity pole on the outskirts of Alwar in Rajasthan, India, on April 17.
An India Commercial Services worker installing an electricity pole on the outskirts of Alwar in Rajasthan, India, on April 17.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

MUMBAI • India has electrified all of its villages 12 days ahead of a deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government said yesterday, which could give the ruling party a boost ahead of a general election next year.

Asia's third-largest economy has been held back for years by a power shortage, with industries having to cope with blackouts and hospitals forced to rely on diesel-run generators for back-up.

But Mr Modi said yesterday that April 28, when a remote village in the north-east became the last to be connected to the grid, would be remembered as a "historic day in the development journey of India".

"Yesterday, we fulfilled a commitment due to which the lives of several Indians will be transformed forever!" Mr Modi wrote on Twitter, as various ministers in his government took to social media to congratulate him.

Government data showed that all of India's 597,464 census villages have now been electrified.

When Mr Modi took office in 2014, there were some 18,452 villages without electricity. But just because all villages are connected to the grid does not mean all Indians have access to power.

The government considers a village electrified if it has basic electrical infrastructure and 10 per cent of its households and public places, including schools, local administrative offices and health centres, have power.

The government considers a village electrified if it has basic electrical infrastructure and 10 per cent of its households and public places, including schools, local administrative offices and health centres, have power.

But some people said on Twitter their villages had yet to be electrified. "No. Not every village yet," said Twitter user Dilip Gupta, identifying his village in a district of Uttar Pradesh in the north. "Over the course of years, my native place has been expecting electricity every year, but it hasn't arrived yet."

A World Bank report last year said globally, 1.06 billion people had no electricity, with India and Nigeria topping the list of most power-deficient countries.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2018, with the headline 'Last Indian village now hooked up to power grid, says govt'. Print Edition | Subscribe