Power Minister R K Singh has launched the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ Web Portal in Delhi to monitor the household electrification progress.
The portal which can be accessed at http://saubhagya.gov.in would provide information on household electrification status (State, district, village-wise), household progress on live basis, State-wise target vs achievement, monthly electrification progress, etc.
The Minister said that “achieving electrification of four crore households is a big challenge, nevertheless the Government is committed to achieve this target by December 2018, with the cooperation of all the States. This would, in turn, bring about a huge improvement in the quality of life of the citizens of India. The Government is bringing a change in the power ecosystem in the country by pushing towards mandatory metering of all new electrical connections through pre-paid or smart meters. This would make paying of electricity bills viable for the poor, reduce power losses and increase compliance in paying electricity bills.”
Seven States including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Mizoram, Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Assam have submitted their requirements to the Power Ministry for funds under the Saubhagya Scheme.
The new portal has a feature on village electrification camps and in line with that, DISCOMs will organise camps in villages/cluster of villages for facilitating on-the-spot filling up of application forms and to complete requisite documentation to expedite release of electricity connections to households.
The Power Ministry has directed NTPC to mix straw/ crop residue pellets with coal, upto 10%, for power generation in all of its Thermal Power Plants. This step would reduce crop residue burning in agriculture dominated States like Punjab, Haryana etc. and hence reduce air pollution that is currently being experienced.
Saubhagya scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September with an outlay of Rs 16,320 crores including budgetary support of Rs 12,320 crores. Under this scheme, all willing household in rural areas and poor families in urban areas are given free electricity connections.