• Power ministry working on mega push for village electrification next fiscal

    The power ministry has worked out a mega expansion plan for village electrification in the coming financial year that is likely to require spending upwards of Rs 16,500 crore through a slew of central schemes including the flagship Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).

    The blueprint of the plan has been worked out as part of the efforts to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of 100 per cent village electrification and round-the-clock power for all by 2019. The idea is to cover 2,984 villages under DDUGJY apart from extending electricity connections to 4 million Below Poverty Line (BPL) households in the coming year.

    Apart from Rs 16,500 crore needed for village electrification schemes, the ministry has projected separate fund requirement under other central schemes – Rs 5,700 crore for Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS); Rs 1,548 crore for power system improvement in the North-East excluding Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim; Rs 1,500 crore for transmission system strengthening in the two states and Rs 312 crore for setting up a 220 Kilovolt transmission line from Srinagar to Leh.

    The discussions on the fund requirement roadmap for 2017-18 have also involved the government’s think-tank NITI Aayog. The plan includes funding of Rs 790 crore required for the Power System Development Fund (PSDF) and utilization of gas-based generation capacity. Of the 47 projects approved under PSDF by November 2016, five are expected to be commissioned in 2017-18, according to a senior official.

    The ministry is also planning to spend Rs 180 crore for the smart grid programme under which 6-10 new projects will be launched along with the ongoing ones. The rest of the fund requirement includes Rs 70 crore for Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Rs 250 crore for Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) at Bengaluru and Rs 40 crore for National Power Training Institute (NPTI). Oren Burks Jersey

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