Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the 'Saubhagya' schemes, which provide for free electricity for five years, among other benefits, to people belonging to socially and economically backward classes.
He also announced that new power connections can be purchased for Rs500 for general consumers.
The total outlay for the Saubhagya scheme will be Rs16,320 crore. The rural household outlay is estimated to be Rs14,025 crore, with Rs2,295 crore being for urban households.
Modi made the announcement at the Bharatiya Janata Party national executive meeting at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi, which reviewed the party's performance and the impact of its policies.
The scheme under the Deendayal Urja Bhawan. Programme is being seen as a major push towards fulfilling his electoral promises after demonetisation on 8 November and GST rollout from 1 July.
The scheme will be funded by a 60 per cent grant from the government, with the states contributing 10 per cent and the remaining amount will be covered by loans.
For special category states, the government will grant 85 per cent of the outlay, with the states contributing just 5 per cent.
The gross budgetary support for the scheme will be Rs 12,320 cr.
The central government has asked states to complete the household electrification by 31 March 2019.
In view of the economic slowdown over the past two quarters, the government has also been reportedly considering a stimulus package to boost the markets.
Measures such as to encourage domestic investments and provide more money for rural infrastructure and affordable housing are also being considered.
Putting more money into the hands of consumers this festive season, easier loans to SMEs and expediting disinvestment are among the steps being considered as part of a stimulus package.
Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian was tasked with preparing details of the pressure points facing the economy and the probable remedies.
PM Modi said his battle against corruption is uncompromising, and whoever is being caught, will not be spared.
The PM said BJP's fight against terrorism will continue... Other countries are also cooperating with India's fight, he added.