2017 must be remembered for this life changing reform which impacts real Bharat

The above tweet from Dr. Dinesh Arora, Founder Head of Rural Electrification Mission, which shows 7 people carrying an electricity pole and a 7-8 year old kid running with them, somewhere in the hills of Assam caught my imagination. I was that boy, back in 1982-83 in my remote village in Kerala – Karnataka border, running with the villagers as they carried electricity poles, dug pits to erect them and pulled the power lines from pole to pole. We kids used to look at KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board) linemen, overseers and engineers as people who had descended from heaven to bless us with light!

It is not easy for most city dwellers and elitists of today to understand what transformation having access to electricity can bring to village houses and farms. I still remember me and my 3 elder siblings sitting next to the kerosene lamp reading and doing our homework. After one hour, our entire body would smell of kerosene smoke and inside the nostrils, you could easily notice a thick black layer of soot. You bend a little more while you read, purr… the tip of our hair would touch the flame and give out dirty keratin burning smell. Come rainy season, thousands of flies and insects would descend around the lamp and make our lives hell.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

It is a shame that what I went through as a child 35 years back is the story crores of households even today, thanks to the family that ruled the nation for most of the last 70 years. The apathy of these rulers towards the real “gareeb” of this nation is abominable. They had schemes for everything under the sun but in reality, nothing happened on the ground.

This is why out of all the work that is being done by Narendra Modi government, the one that has caught my imagination is Grameen Vidyutikaran Mission under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grama Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY). Anyone with little exposure the rural areas, especially the far-flung villages would know that the real task is to get the poles, power lines & transformers in and have the first few houses electrified. Once that is done, it is not a herculean task to electrify other houses in the village if the intent is there.

As on April 1, 2015, nearly 68 years after India’s independence, 18,452 villages, i.e. about 3% of all villages in this country had no access electricity, a basic amenity. Modi and his Power Minister in 2015, Piyush Goyal, seem to have taken this situation as a challenge. I have been tracking the progress under DDUGJY from the day the Garv App and the website www.garv.gov.in were launched and the progress made has been commendable.

The first thing that power ministry seemed to have done was to collect actual data on the current situation. Once the current situation was understood, the ministry seemed to have worked closely with different state governments (of different political parties) on rolling out the plan. There was complete data transparency up to the village level. Names and contact numbers of Grameen Vidyut Abhiyantas (GVAs, who played a key role in rollout) were accessible to everyone. The central government also successfully kept the motivation levels of the GVAs high.

The outcome is there for everyone to see. As I write this article, Bihar has just announced that all of its 2747 unelectrified villages have been electrified today. The race to zero that started from 18,452 has now reached 1,635 (as on December 27, 2017). The table below gives the progress made so far.

Well begun is half done. Next challenge for Modi government would be to provide access electricity to every rural household under Saubhagya scheme by 2019. As on October 11, 2017, of the 18.02 crore rural households, a shocking 4.13 crore (23%) have no access to electricity. Can the success of the step 1 be replicated in step 2?

One may love or hate Narendra Modi for his own reason, you have to give him the credit for changing the status quo when it comes to changing lives of crores of “gareeb” people of this country. He and his Government may be credited with various reforms, such as GST or Insolvency Code or other actions, but in my view, this one scheme trumps them all. While other schemes may improve the situation for people who already have it easy, rural electrification is one scheme which simplifies life for those, who are suffering the most.

They are the ones who do not have any lobbying bodies. They are the ones who do not get called on prime time debates. They are the ones who are living decades behind their counterparts in cities. They are the real India, they are Bharat. For every village that gets connected today, 100s of kids will get an opportunity to give a fair shot at life, like me. To me, this is “Antyodaya” in the real sense.

Share and Support:
Support OpIndia by paying for content

Most read articles recently

Activist opposing Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal contract thinks ‘Brahmins obstruct India’s development’

The Akshaya Patra has come under criticism recently for not including onion and garlic in its mid-day meals for school children.

Mumbai Police teaches a lesson in humility to ‘special’ Sonam Kapoor

Actor Dulquer Salman clarified that he and Sonam were sitting inside a car that was rigged to a truck and hence were not breaking traffic rules.

Uttar Pradesh: Eight cattle smugglers arrested in Bahraich with arms and ammunition

The smugglers even tried to trample the police personnel with their vehicle.

Rafale: SC examined the pricing details closely, ‘did not rely’ on CAG report as claimed by Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi has claimed that the Supreme Court verdict on Rafale was based only on the CAG report, while it is not true

Church of South India Archbishop Dyvasirvadam arrested in church fund scam, reports Times of India

According to the report, archbishop Dyvasirvadam was allegedly involved in misappropriation of church fund for over a decade

Double whammy for Congress in court: After Rafale verdict, Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as special director gets SC approval

The Supreme Court's verdict is being seen as the second major embarrassment for both the Congress party and Prashant Bhushan, as the Supreme Court had earlier rejected a plea on the issue of a probe concerning the Rafale deal.

Congress friendly journalist wishes death upon BJP Delhi spokesperson Tajinder Bagga

During the run-up to Gujarat assembly elections last year, Trivedi was caught spreading morphed images with Amit Shah's fake quotes on Patidars

Pro-Congress troll resumes fake news website, makes outlandish claims on Rafale targeting Modi

Abhishek Mishra has been associated with the website which spreads fake news and Islamist propaganda

Amidst Rafale row, PAC led by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge slams HAL, questions efficiency

In 2015 Dassault had also expressed its inhibition in partnering with HAL, flagging its concern about the companies technical inadequacies

Rafale: They wanted to pull Modi down to their level

The Congress and its ecosystem is strong and well oiled.

Latest articles

Connect with us


Don't miss these