India's electrification programme scores high in World Bank report

A World Bank report on Thursday gave high marks for India’s electrification programme, less than a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that all the villages in the country have been electrified.

India is doing “extremely well” on electrification with nearly 85 per cent of the country’s population having access to electricity, the World Bank has said.
Between 2010 and 2016, India has been providing electricity to an additional 30 million people each year, more than any other country, the World Bank said in its latest report released this week.
The report said nearly 85 per cent of the country’s population has access to electricity.
“India is doing extremely well on electrification. We are reporting India about 85 per cent of the population has access to electricity,” said Foster, lead World Bank author of the latest report on Energy Progress.
This figure, she pointed out, is higher than that of the Indian government. “That might surprise you. The government is currently reporting in low 80s,” Vivien Foster, Lead Energy Economist at the World Bank said.
That may, however, be attributed to the methodology the World Bank uses. The household survey it uses counts those who are off grid as well, while the government uses figures based on official utility connection, she added.
While challenges to providing universal access to electricity, ie, covering the remaining 15 per cent of the 1.25 billion population, remains, the report said India is all set to achieve the target well before the 2030 deadline.
“In absolute terms, India is doing more on electrification than any other countries. Thirty million a year, is really an astounding performance and it stands out from the crowd,” Foster said.
However, India is not the fastest country in electrification. Bangladesh and Kenya, for example are faster in electrification than India, she noted.
India, she said, is now entering final stage of electrification.
“You are already well over 80 per cent, so you’re getting into the more difficult aspects of electrification: the more remote population, the harder to reach people,” she explained.
However, reliability of service is an area of concern for India, she said.
“We know that in some parts of India or having the connection doesn’t necessarily guarantee the energy’s reliable supply. So, getting the connection obviously is very important, but India still has a long way to continue to work on actually making that access meaningful in terms of hours of service,” Foster said.
Referring to India’s tremendous electrification effort, the report said it expects 250 million people gaining electricity access between now and the early 2020s, when the country reaches full access.
The report attributed the rapid growth of electricity access in India to the country’s $2.5 billion electrification programmes for reach universal electrification, the report said.