Home Editor's picks Saubhagya: The Silent Revolution

Saubhagya: The Silent Revolution

For someone who’s seen the time when even Delhi didn’t have electricity, I can relate to the scarcity that these villages must have faced before being electrified.

Most people would agree that the promise of “Bijli, paani, sadak” had become a distant dream for most of those who resided in the rural areas. Prime Minister Modi decided to bring an end to this wait for electricity and decided to launch the Saubhagya scheme to electrify every rural house in the country.

The government started with an ambitious project to first electrify all villages and once this task was completed, the focus shifted towards taking electricity from every village to every house across the country.

To see the impact of the Saubhagya Yojna, Public Policy Research Centre decided to commission a project for the state of Madhya Pradesh. The reason why Madhya Pradesh was picked was due to it being one of the lagging states in India, often classified in the BIMARU group. In fact, a major amount of household electrification drive was in districts of Madhya Pradesh so it made for an interesting study on how electrification was altering the day to day lives of citizens.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

The study resulted in interesting findings as our researchers found that people spent less time in unproductive work and this resulted in a speeding up of household chores. This free time was utilized by individuals in the households into other productive tasks whereby adult members utilized it to supplement the household income while the children used it towards studying and other related activities.

On an average, we found that children spent an additional 1.5 hours studying post electrification of villages. One of the major reasons behind this is that now children could study even during the night and this is due to the increase in the effective productive hours during a day. For girls, we found that they pace out time to accommodate for education and this means that Saubhagya can be an interesting instrument towards improving education standards of girls over a coming couple of years.

Beyond education, household electrification has also led to the empowerment of women as they’re now able to efficiently manage their time, supplement their earnings and have a sense of security. We found evidence of several women starting up some household unit enterprise and during the course of interviews, they told us how their incomes were used towards improved grains and milk for the children. Thus, what is missing from the report is the indirect impact that Saubhagya can have on nutritional status through the route of increase in income due to the reduction in non-productive tasks.

The reason why this is missing from the report is the difficulty in establishing causality for this, however, from what we experienced on the ground, we believe that a scheme like Saubhagya is bound to have far too many indirect benefits than mere direct benefits. Apart from improved income, another aspect which we explored was the impact on indoor air pollution.

As evident, most of the fuel choices before Saubhagya are known to cause indoor air pollution. As a result of the electrification of household, a significant reduction in indoor air pollution was observed and this is bound to have major long-term health consequences as incidences and prevalence of asthma and other lung conditions or diseases will reduce significantly. Though, the reduction in incidences of lung conditions must be attributed jointly to Ujjwala and Saubhagya scheme.

Madhya Pradesh has become a pioneer in the implementation of developmental schemes and it is this fact which has brought in a complete shift in the day to day life of its citizens. From being a BIMARU state towards becoming an aspirational state, the journey of development of Madhya Pradesh is an excellent case study for researchers to emulate in other developing states and nations. As far as Saubhagya has concerned, the very design of the scheme made it critical towards the holistic development of the state of Madhya Pradesh and the state government ensured effective and efficient implementation of the scheme across districts.

For someone who’s seen the time when even Delhi didn’t have electricity, I can relate to the scarcity that these villages must have faced before being electrified. Most young kids today don’t know the period in the 70s when our parents would stand outside ration shops to get Kerosene for lamps as 24/7 electricity was unheard of or unimaginable by common citizens even in India’s capital city.

It is this scarcity, that these villagers were subject to till 2014 when the Government changed and decided to electrify all villages and later all houses. It is difficult to fathom the transformation that these households must have experienced upon being electrified, however, our research tries to capture some aspects of it and from what we’ve observed, Saubhagya has definitely ushered in an unprecedented change in the lives of these households.

Dr Sumeet Bhasin is Director at Public Policy Research Centre and former IT cell head at Delhi BJP. He tweets at @sumeetbhasin.

Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans:
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.

Don't Miss This: EVM Lies & The Truth

Opindia's dedicated collection of all the EVM hacking allegations, lies and truth

IIT graduate and an IAS officer explains in detail why EVMs can’t be ‘hacked’ or ‘tampered’ with

Bhavesh Mishra, IAS 2015 batch, B.Tech IIT Delhi, on Quora gave a detailed explanation regarding why EVMs cannot be 'hacked' or 'tampered' with.

Barkha Dutt expresses deep anguish over the fact that the mainstream media can no longer influence elections

Barkha said it doesn't make her happy that mainstream media cannot influence the voters to vote in a particular way anymore.

‘Journalist sitting in a political party’s lap is calling others godi media’, Aaj Tak’s Rohit Sardana hits out at NDTV’s Ravish Kumar

Aaj Tak journalist Rohit Sardana said that earlier journalists used to decide ministry allocations.
Shehla Rashid calls upon United Nations to resolve the EVM allegations

‘Why don’t we invoke the UN?’ Shehla Rashid takes EVM row to a new level as exit polls predict Modi’s victory

Shehla Rashid bemoaned about the lack of clarity and purpose among the opposition parties while levelling serious allegations of EVM fraud and rigging

Hindustan Times journalist links Hindu festival to Nathuram Godse, gets slammed

Ayudh Puja, also known as Astra Puja in some parts of India, was linked to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin.
Rajdeep Sardesai rubbishes EVM hacking claims, says opposition parties should refrain from undermining the electoral process

Now, even Rajdeep Sardesai abandons opposition parties’ EVM clown car

In stark contrast to his natural disposition, Rajdeep Sardesai has slammed the opposition parties trying to create controversy over EVMs.
Sba Naqvi spreads already debunked fake news on 'Missing EVMs'

India has 90 crore eligible voters, ‘journalists’ and opposition claim votes of 400 crore voters are ‘missing’

Following the rejection of the claims by ECI and the clarification over the issue, Frontline magazine had accepted that their report is false and a rejoinder will be published. TV9 Bharatvarsh had removed the report from their website and YouTube channel.
HDFC Bank acknowledge dubious allegation of Islamophobia on their employee, promise action

HDFC Bank promises ‘appropriate action’ against employee for exercising his constitutional right, people threaten boycott

A journalist employed by AFP news agency, Uzair Hasan Rizvi, has implored HDFC Bank to act against one of its employees for views he calls 'Islamophobic' and 'Xenophobic'.

Meet Ashok Lavasa: A man surrounded by many controversies, going back to the CWG scam

Election commissioner Ashok Lavasa had kicked up a storm earlier after he alleged that he did not agree with the ECI decisions to clear PM Modi and Amit Shah of charges of violating the MCC
Subscribe to Day's Top Stories

Latest articles

Connect with us

Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans: