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Implementation bottlenecks & malpractices
K. C. Venugopal Union Minister of State for power, discusses performance and prospects of RGGVY
Issue Date - 30/04/2012
B&E: How do you rate RGGVY’s performance since its launch?
K. C. Venugopal (KCV): The “Power to All” mission is driven by RGGVY and I am happy that all states are contributing to its success. Over 90% of the targeted non-electrified/de-electrified villages and about 80% of targeted BPL households have been electrified under this scheme. I hope the states are putting in their best efforts to see that funds allocated are utilised most optimally and effectively. Talking about the impact, we need to understand that only 1,500 villages were electrified at the time of independence. So, the real work had to be started at the grassroot levels. In RGGVY, we made free electricity for BPL households mandatory. Electricity will change the lifestyle and aspirations of villagers for the better.

B&E: How many villages and households remain to be electrified as per the new meaning of electrification?
KCV: Achievements in the phase I of RGGVY were satisfactory, rather inspiring. Some of the villages and hamlets were partially left out in the earlier scheme due to survey discrepancies. We covered such villages in phase II of RGGVY. We have already made funds to the tune of Rs.60 billion available to cover the left out villages. The Ministry has sanctioned 34 new projects in Chattisgarh, Haryana, MP, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. 33 Supplementary projects were also sanctioned for UP, Bihar, MP, West Bengal and Maharashtra. We are hopeful of completing the balance of phase I and II implementation of RGGVY in the next couple of years.

B&E: A few complaints made suggest that villagers have been asked to pay bribe for connections under RGGVY by sub-contractors like Nagarjuna. Have you received any specific complaints?
KCV: The role of the central government is to provide the necessary funds and plan the implementation of RGGVY. On the request of states, we have also extended the support of central PSUs in the implementation of the scheme. However, actual implementation has been made the responsibility of distribution utilities across respective states. We are concerned about malpractices, as such acts may derail the great vision behind the scheme. I don’t have any specific information regarding the allegations. However, we are pressing for an effective monitoring mechanism.

B&E: In some villages of Assam, migration and floods have often made it difficult to provide electricity. What other challenges does RGGVY face?
KCV: In some states, RGGVY implementation is delayed due to various reasons such as late submission of project reports, forest clearances, land acquisitions, lack of qualified agencies, shortage of materials, difficult terrains, et al. However, the government has taken several steps to speed up the process. A three-tier quality monitoring mechanism – web-based monitoring, constitution of State Level Coordination Committees and activation of District level Committees, and regular review meetings – has been put in place to ensure effective implementation. We have also decided to hold district-level review meetings of RGGVY implementation with people’s representatives. However, some MPs have complained that such meetings are not being conducted regularly. I hope the state utility heads will take note of that.



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