The government on Monday said that more than 82% of households in rural areas were electrified on an average across states. This has rendered irrelevant the definition of village electrification of connecting at least 10% households, the Ministry of Power claimed, adding that it would push to achieve universal household electrification by December 31.
The ministry’s clarification came two days after the government said that all villages in India had been electrified. Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that the feat was achieved on Saturday when Manipur’s Leisang village became the last to be electrified. But the Congress accused the government of taking “fake credit” for the feat as close to 97% of nearly 6.5 lakh villages were already electrified by the time Modi came to power.
However, a fact-check by Scroll.in showed that this did not mean that all the households in these villages had come out of darkness. According to the government’s own data, more than 30 million rural households or 17% of rural households in the country still do not have an electricity connection. More than 40% of rural households in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Assam are yet to be electrified while the figure is less than 30% for states like Bihar, Nagaland and Manipur.
“The variation in levels of electrification across various regions and states within the country is primarily because of its size, heterogeneity in terms of topography, location, resources, and also because of varying efforts made by the states for household electrification,” the power ministry said on Monday. “The government has already moved out of this dichotomy and launched the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – Saubhagya to achieve universal household electrification in the country by December 31.”