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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Affordable electricity for all in five years: PM

PTI  New Delhi, October 09, 2012
First Published: 11:10 IST(9/10/2012) | Last Updated: 13:01 IST(9/10/2012)

India plans to provide affordable electricity to all households in the next five years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday.

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"The Government of India aims to provide 24x7 electricity to all households in the country and affordable access to electricity in the next 5 years," he said inaugurating an International Seminar on Energy Access organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and CII in New Delhi.

Singh also said the government was taking steps to offer cooking gas to all rural households.

At present, around 12% of around 190 million rural households today use LPG to meet their cooking energy needs.

"Giving all the 240 million households in the country an entitlement of six LPG cylinders per year will require only around 25 million tonnes of LPG," Singh said.

"This should be manageable for our country. But, extending distribution network to all villages may take time," he said.

The Prime Minister said the government was working on a mechanism to provide subsidy to targeted individuals so that they can afford to have electricity and LPG.

Singh said that the government is looking to put in place a mechanism where subsidy would be directly transferred to bank accounts of the beneficiary.

He said in one pilot scheme in Mysore district of Karnataka, 27,000 deliveries of subsidised cylinders have been made after successful biometric authentication of any family member present at home.

"In the next phase it is planned to transfer the subsidy amount directly to the bank accounts of bona fide beneficiaries," he said.

Highlighting plans for alternate sources of energy, the Prime Minister said India aimed to light up 20 million rural household by 2022 using solar power.

He said at present renewable power represented about 12% of the total installed generating capacity in India.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, launched under the aegis of India's National Action Plan on Climate Change, aims to install 20 Gigawatt of grid connected solar power by 2022.

"We hope to light up around 20 million rural households with solar home lighting by 2022," he said, adding that the government looked forward to accelerate the overall deployment of renewable energy in India to achieve around 55 Gigawatt of renewable power by the year 2017.

He said both the government and the industry need to engage in international cooperation on a large scale in the area of energy access.

Additionally, Singh said fuel wood plantations could also be set up within a kilometer of all inhabitations to reduce the burden on women who have to walk long distances to collect fire wood for household use.

Making a strong pitch for universalising access to energy, Singh said favoured innovative institutions, national and local enabling mechanisms, and targeted policies, including appropriate subsidies and financing arrangements.

"The necessary technologies to mitigate the problem are fortunately available. These technologies need to be viewed as global public goods," he said.

Singh said Intellectual Property Regimes applied to energy access technologies should balance rewards for innovators with the need to promote the common good of humankind.

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