R K Singh, Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Government of India, on the occasion of 127th Birth Anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar launched many initiatives for the welfare of the underprivileged, on April 14.
At this occasion, Singh expressed the Government’s commitment to providing 24*7 power supply to all. He said that every household in the country would get electricity connection by December 2018 under ‘Saubhagya.’ Emphasising the importance of renewable energy for rural areas, the Minister said, “Off-grid solutions will empower the local women and provide a reliable source of electricity for school going children so they can study and progress well. Thus, it will help in integrating the deprived sections of society with the mainstream.”
Of the several initiatives launched, Singh inaugurated Assembly & Distribution Centre for solar study lamps at Mahuli village in Arrah. In this center, local women Self Help Group (SHG) will assemble solar study lamps and distribute them to underprivileged students who do not have access to electricity. Thus the Centre will provide not only kerosene-free affordable illumination to students, but also empower rural women with the skills to assemble, distribute and repair solar lamps.
This initiative is part of the Government of India’s scheme of providing 7 million solar study lamps in five States where rural household electrification levels are low. In Bihar, the target is to offer more than 1,884,000 underprivileged students with solar study lamps. Around 457,000 such lamps have already been distributed to students of the State.
Singh also laid the foundation (remotely) for a solar photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing plant in Sherghati block of Gaya district. This plant will be first of its kind in the State, and will be entirely owned and operated by local women Self Help Group Federations. For this purpose, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (BRLPS) – Jeevika, IIT-Bombay, and the Cluster Level Federation of women self-help group members.
Initiating the Govt of India’s Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, Singh flagged off the UJALA van from Arrah. The trailer will travel across Bihar distributing the LED bulbs and spreading awareness about energy efficiency and energy conservation. As part of this initiative, 16000 Indian villages with a significantly large number of low-income households will be able to buy LED bulbs for a special price of INR 50 under the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) program. In Bihar, 635 villages will benefit from this program. The LED bulbs will equip homes with energy-efficient, cost-effective lighting, and higher lumen output than conventional incandescent bulbs.
The Gram Swaraj Abhiyan is launched by the Government to promote social harmony and apprise rural communities of various government welfare schemes and initiatives. The campaign will be implemented between April 14 and May 05, 2018 in 16000 villages across India.
The event was graced by the officials from Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, EESL, IIT Bombay, Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society – Jeevika and District Administration of Bhojpur.