According to New Delhi government data, all of India’s 597,464 census villages have been electrified.
The last village to be brought on the national power grid was Leisang in the Senapati district of Manipur at 5.30pm on Saturday.
The rural villages have been connected to the grid via the government's Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana programme.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) census estimated there were 18,452 un-electrified villages. During project rollout it was found out that an additional 1,275 villages also didn’t have electricity access.
As of 28 April, all villages have been electrified, either through the national grid or off grid solutions. 1,236 Villages have been declared uninhabited and 35 have been notified as grazing reserves.
The scheme has been deployed by the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC).
“We are just absolutely thrilled, excited and delighted. We have fulfilled our mandate, our promise and the work allotted to us by the government and the honourable Prime Minister,” P.V. Ramesh, managing director, REC told Mint.
The rural electrification programme was initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, whereby he promised to electrify all un-electrified villages within 1,000 days.
The programme also aimed to improve India’s per capita power consumption of around 1,200 kWh which is among the lowest in the world.
Aimed at providing round the clock power to rural households and adequate power to agricultural consumers, the DDUGJY involved feeder separation, strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network, metering at all levels, village electrification, and setting up micro grid and off grid distribution network.
The last village to be provided off grid electricity access was Pakol village in Churachandpur district of Manipur. Read more: India to formulate mini-grids policy for Jharkhand State
The feeder separation for rural agricultural and village households will help stem the load shedding practice of distribution utilities and is expected to bring benefits such as improved agriculture yield and socio-economic development of the rural areas.
A village is considered electrified if 10% of households can access power along with public institutions such as schools, community and health centres etc. Houses however, continue to require continued attention to ensure electricity access.
The next step in the programme is provide electricity connections to more than 40 million families in rural and urban areas by March 2019 under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya).
This article was published on our sister publication Metering & Smart Energy International's website (www.metering.com).