The Indian Government has launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – “Saubhagya” which aims to provide last mile electricity connections to all willing households in rural as well as urban areas. The scheme intends to achieve electrification programme to reach universal electrification as it facilitates sustainable economic and social growth in the country. Let us look in detail about the Saubhagya Scheme in this article.
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Scope of the Scheme
Under this scheme, the un-electrified households would be identified by the Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) based standalone system. Any left out economically weaker un-electrified households that are located in the remote and inaccessible villages or habitations, where the grid extension is not feasible or cost-effective are also detected and provided with the electrical connections to such households. The non-poor urban households are excluded from availing electricity access under this scheme.
Salient Features of Saubhagya
The following are the salient features of the Saubhagya Scheme that are listed below:
- The beneficiary households for the free electricity access under this scheme would be identified using the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) database. However, un-electrified households that are not covered under the SECC database would also be provided with electricity connections under this scheme on the payment of Rs.500 which would be recovered by the DISCOMs in 10 instalments through the electricity bill.
- The electricity connections to un-electrified households would include the provision of the service line cable, energy meter including pre-paid or smart meter, single-point wiring. The LED lamps and associated accessories in line with the technical specifications and construction standard.
- In the case of un-electrified households that are located in the remote and inaccessible areas, the power loads of 200 to 300 Wp (with the battery bank) with the maximum number of 5 LED lights, 1 DC Fan, 1 DC power plug etc. would be given along with the terms of Repair and Maintenance (R&M) for the period of 5 years.
- The Saubhagya award scheme will also facilitate the power distribution firms (DISCOMs) and Power Department of the different States and their employees for achieving 100 per cent household electrification.
- All DISCOMs including the Private Sector DISCOMs, State Power Departments and RE Cooperative Societies would be eligible for the financial grant under the scheme in line with the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY). Some eligible entities are to provide free electricity connections to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) households already sanctioned under the DDUGJY. In case of such entities are not able to find enough number of the BPL households in the project area, such households would not be considered for the funding of service connection cost under the Saubhagya scheme to avoid any possibility of duplication.
- The information of consumers viz, name and Aadhaar card number/contact number/bank account/driving license/voter identity etc., as available would be collected by the DISCOMs.
- The defaulters whose electricity connections have been disconnected would not be given any benefit under this scheme. However, the utilities would consider the settlement of old dues and reconnection as per the norms.
The eligible beneficiary must attach the below following documents to apply for the electricity connection under the scheme:
- Identity Proof: PAN, Aadhaar, Driving License, Voter Identity Card, etc.
- Address Proof: Aadhar card, legal Passport, Utility bill, Property tax bill, etc.
- Electricity Bill
- Below Poverty Line Certificate
- Any other documents (if applicable)
The funding structure of Saubhagaya is tabulated as under:
|Agency||Nature of support||Quantum of support|
|Special Category States||Other than the Special Category States|
|Government of India||Grant||85%||60%|
|Utility/State Contribution||Own Fund||5%||10%|
|Additional Grant from the GOI on the achievement of prescribed milestones||Grant||50% of the total loan component (10%) that would be 5%||50% of the total loan component (30%) that would be 15%|
|Maximum Grant by the GOI (including additional grant on the achievement of prescribed milestones)||Grant||90%||75%|
The DISCOM in the area would organize camps in the villages or cluster of villages and prior detail about such camps would be widely published. The applicant needs to approach the DISCOM officials in the camp and must get the application form for the electricity connection that would be registered on spot. The electricity connection would be released by the DISCOM after the verification process, that would be mostly on spot. In the case, the applicants are not able to get details about the camp, one can also approach the nearest DISCOM office for the required guidance. On the other hand, the applicant will be requested to give their contact details to the concerned officials and after which the applicant will be contacted by the concerned agency.
There is certain provision under the Saubhagya scheme to provide the last mile connectivity to the left out un-electrified households such as the erection of pole, conductor etc. and the electrical connection can be released to such households as per the scheme guidelines. On submission of the application for the electricity connection, the DISCOM officials would track/verify the site to find out additional electricity infrastructure required for the releasing electricity connection for such house.
Note: If the earlier connection was disconnected due to default in the payment of electricity dues that are still outstanding or not paid till date, then the applicant will not be eligible to get new connection under Saubhagya Scheme.