The NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will ensure that every home across the country gets electricity connection by March this year, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said today in his Interim Budget speech that was seen as a populist budget in an election year.
"Till the year 2014, about 2.5 crore families were forced to live the life of 18th century without electricity," Mr Goyal said.
"Under Saubhagya Yojna, we provided free electricity connection to almost every household. By March 2019, all willing families will get electricity connection. In mission mode, we have provided 143 crore LED bulbs with the participation of the private sector," said the union minister who filled in for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as the latter is recuperating in the US.
"This has resulted into a savings of approximately Rs 50,000 crore per year in electricity bills of poor and middle class families," he said.
In May last year, in a series of tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that a village in Manipur was the last one to receive electricity in the country. More than 80 per cent rural homes in the country - and not the 10 per cent necessary to declare each village electrified - have electricity, the government later clarified.
Electrification has been on government agendas since the country's independence from colonial rule, but it has run into hurdles, especially because of the huge logistical challenges of bringing electricity to faraway settlements in difficult terrain.
The plan to bring electricity to every village within 1,000 days was announced by PM Modi in 2015.