Modi claims victory in plan to electrify all Indian villages

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, has announced that a $12bn plan to bring electricity to all Indian villages has been completed several months before the set deadline.

On Saturday, Modi took to Twitter to say: "The 28 April 2018 will be remembered as a historic day in the development journey of India. Yesterday, we fulfilled a commitment due to which the lives of Indians will be transformed forever! I am delighted that every single village of India now has access to electricity."

PV Ramesh, chairman of the state-run Rural Electrification corporation (REC), is quoted by Live Mint as saying: "We are just absolutely thrilled, excited and delighted. We have fulfilled our mandate, our promise and the work allotted to us by the government and the honourable prime minister."

During the project, 5 million homes and 597,464 villages were connected to either the national grid or to independent systems designed to reduce the number of petrol generators.

However, this does not mean that most houses in a village have a mains connection. In fact, the REC defines a village as being electrified if "10% of the total number of households in the village" have access to electricity as well as all public buildings. Indian newspaper Business Standard reports that 30.6 million rural homes are still without electricity.

India has a "household electrification" project called the Saubhagya Scheme to connect "all remaining un-electrified households in rural as well as urban areas", which is due to be completed by March 2019.

The BBC says that only six Indian states out of 29 – Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu – have full access to electricity.

Images courtesy of Narendra Modi’s twitter account

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