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Rural Electrification in India: From ‘Connections for All’ to ‘Power for All’

Author(s): Sreekumar Nhalur, Ann Josey, Manabika Mandal Publication Date: November, 2018

Over the past decade and a half, India has evidenced substantial investments in rural electrification. As per official estimates, 100% village electrification and over 90% household connections have been achieved. But, if this investment is to return rural development dividends, it is important to focus on the issues of affordability, sufficiency, and quality of electricity supply, especially for small consumers. Without this, there is a danger that the new rural infrastructure will fall to disuse, as had happened in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh after the first wave of rural electrification. Based on a study of publicly available documents, this article raises some key concerns and makes a case for a shift in policy making and political commitment from universal connections to improvement of quality of supply and services. A version of this article appeared in Economic and Political Weekly on the 17th of November 2018.

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