History of Rural Electrification in India

Go back Dolly Pandey
Expert in Rural Electrification

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Did you ever imagine, “OUR LIFE WITHOUT ELECTRICITY? No, perhaps not even a single human being on this earth would ever want to live life without electricity. Therefore, I want to throw some light on electrification in India, particularly on “RURAL ELECTRICATION”

Why India is dependent on Rural Electrification more than Urban Electrification?       

Starting from the darkened nights to the brighten nights, India has changed rapidly.

Our country is a developing country wherein 75% of the population live in villages, that is why our Indian economy is predominantly a rural economy. It is therefore clear that villages are the focal points of development. Undoubtedly, rural electrification is the backbone of Indian rural economy and also a basic input for rapid rural development of our country. It plays an important role in the development of the Indian economy. For people living in rural areas and for rural development in country, electric power is essential as it serves various purposes such as agricultural, agro-industrial, domestic and commercial.

Did you know focus on electrification in India was started from which year?

Prior Independence, there was no policy for rural electrification in India.


     Before Independence                                                     After Independence

Focus on rural electrification was started after 1950, as a planned programme.

In 1951 Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka had around 10%, 9% and 2 % of electrified villages respectively. Other states had less than 1% of electrified villages. 

During Inception, programme on Rural Electrification was launched with two dimensions i.e. (i) Village Electrification (ii) Irrigation Pump set energization. To the some extent Former enhanced consumer satisfaction and the latter optimised crop yield. Focus of government was started with five years plan after independence.

What all five years plans given to India in rural Electrification;

During the first five year plan, rural electrification was confined to some states. However during the second and third five year plan, it was extended to maximum states of India. Even after this upto late 1960s was progress of electrification was not satisfactory.

At the end of the third five year plan electric power could reach only about 45,000 villages out of total 5.76 Lakh villages. Total numbers of pump sets energized in the country was about 5 Lakh at that time. Electrification status/progress thereafter increased 1.56 Villages Lakh with 24.26  Lakh Wells energized in Fourth five year plan, 2.50 Lakh Villages electrified   with 39.49 Lakh tube wells energized, in Fifth Five year Plan. By the end of the seventh five year plan, nearly three-fourth of the villages had been electrified. It was remarkable effort of GoI that rural electrification was taken up in each of the Five Year Plan but almost target could be achieved only in third five year plan as far as village electrification is concerned.  During Sixth (1980-1985) to Eleventh Five year plan (2007-2012) graph of village electrification got up and down and maximum villages were electrified in  FY2000-01.

If we talk about current financial Year, village electrification in FY-2018-19 is concerned, 5.92 Lakh out of total 6.19 Lakh villages have been electrified.

Post-Independence Schemes of Rural Electrification;

One of the well-known schemes of Indian Power sector in rural electrification, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) was launched in 2005, by merging all on-going schemes launched before 2005. Similarly, other schemes such as DDUGJY and Saubhagya were launched thereafter which are on-going in various states of India. Since inception to as on date following schemes has been launched for rural electrification:


Name of Schemes

Launching Year


Minimum Needs Program (MNP)



 Kutir Jyoti Pragram (KJP)



 Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojna (PMGY)



 Accelerated Rural Electrification Program (AREP)



Rural Electricity Supply Technology Mission (REST)



Rajeev Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojna (RGGVY)



Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY)



 Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yajna (SAUBHAGYA)


Before implementation of Saubhagya Scheme, merely 13.36 Crores out of 17.96 households were electrified.

However, remarkable progress achieved after Saubhagya as per data being updated by REC on Saubhagya Dashboard with the help of all states in India. As per the current status 21.19 Cr Households out 21.26 Cr have been electrified and only 7.26 Lakh Households are left to be electrified.

Concluding Remark & Main Concern:

Surprisingly, in spite of various schemes and heavy investment made by the government of India and sizable expansion taken in electrification of villages, most of villages still experience irregular supply of power especially during the peak hour and there a number households in India still living without electricity. For overall economic development of rural areas regular supply of power is essential. Also, there are still few poor households which are left in dark. They do not electricity.

For acquiring continuous supply, focus in generation and transmission sector is also needed along with power distribution whereas in distribution sector, numbers of secondary substations are required to be increased for improvement. However, efforts by central Government, state government and few private entities are being done continuously.

Posted by : Sateesh Kumar Singh
Very Nice information Mam. Very informative History of electricity in India.

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