- The Standing Committee on Energy (Chairman: Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav) presented its 41st report on the implementation of the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY).
- The government launched the RGGVY in 2005 for the electrification of all villages.
- The Committee noted that the scheme does not cover villages with population below 100. Hence, an extension of RGGVY beyond the 12th Five Year Plan will be required to electrify these villages.
- RGGVY aims to provide free electricity connections to Below Poverty Line (BPL) households. The Committee asked the government to ensure that no genuine BPL family is deprived of free connection on account of discrepancies in BPL lists prepared by states and the Ministry of Rural Development.
- A village is considered electrified if it has the basic infrastructure like poles and transformers and 10% of the households and public centres have electricity connections. State utilities are responsible for expanding the coverage to remaining households.
- The Committee observed that the provision to cover only 10% of households has led to dissatisfaction. Hence, the government should aim to improve better coordination with state agencies and ensure that state agencies/utilities fulfil their responsibility.
- The Committee appreciated the Ministry of Power’s (MoP) decision to raise the capacity of transformers to be installed during the 12th plan to 63 kV and 100 kV from 25 kV. It suggested replacement of previously installed transformers with higher capacity ones.
- The Committee took note of slow pace of the implementation of RGGVY in naxal-affected areas. It asked the government to devise a tailor made plan to implement the scheme in such areas.
- The Committee asked the government to incorporate adequate provisions regarding hours and timing of electricity supply while approving the projects proposed by state government/utilities.
- The Committee noted that there is no discussion about production of additional electricity needed for the villages electrified under the scheme. Therefore, the government should provide physical and monetary assistance to states to meet the additional demand.
- The Committee noted irregularities in implementation of the scheme, despite quality control mechanisms. It stressed the need to strengthen these mechanisms through extensive ground surveys.
- The Committee suggested marking the infrastructure provided under the scheme to distinguish it from regular electrification infrastructure. It also stressed the need to put helpline numbers and names of concerned officials in the local language.
- The Committee recommended that the government promote the use of LED bulbs under RGGVY by providing it to all the beneficiaries at subsidised rates.
- The Committee desired that the MoP raise the standard cost provisions for the scheme. It also recommended that projects and costs be formulated on the basis of an actual field survey.
- The Committee recommended efforts to ensure full utilisation of allocated funds. It also suggested a thorough appraisal to determine the reasons behind the shortfalls in achieving financial and physical targets of the scheme.
- The Committee noted that the scheme has often missed its annual targets. It recommended intense efforts to achieve the yearly as well as overall targets to ensure no spill-over of projects to next plan.