Electricity is vital to both economic and social development of villages. In India still 760 million rural households are without electricity and use kerosene to light-up their houses. In Rajasthan still 470 villages do not have electricity, as they are far away from grid line and number of houses are small making impossible to provide wired electricity to these villages by government and those who have, their current state is very poor as electricity comes only 2-3 hours a day and not at the time when it is required the most.
The households are using kerosene lamps to light-up their house, which are not only causing health hazards to the family members but also affecting environment adversely. They are spending average Rs. 300/- per month to fuel the kerosene lamps.
Household without electricity are losing 4-5 man-hours of work daily for adult members leading to decrease in earnings and also affecting the studies of children.
They are unable to use any communication means including mobile phones as there are no facilities for charging batteries, thus cut-off from rest of the world.
Rural electrification at a household level can provide the essential services such as lighting and communications facilities. India is blessed with abundant solar energy and if harnessed efficiently, the country is capable of producing trillion-kilowatts of electricity. Solar energy is extremely beneficial as it is non-polluting and its generation can be decentralized. The State of Rajasthan receives more than 325 days solar radiation with maximum intensity in India and very low average rainfall. It also has unutilized low cost desert land available in abundance.
Every poor households who have no electricity connection from grid and use kerosene to light-up their houses can be provided Solar Power System. Each System will consist of solar panel, battery and converter, can provide electricity to 2 LED bulbs of 5W each for 6 hours and charge 2 mobile phones daily. The Solar Power System will cost Rs. 4600/- which is around 15 months expenses on kerosene. If MNRE provide subsidy of Rs. 2300/- as they are providing on many products like Solar Water Heaters, Water Pumps etc. then cost will be recurred in only 8 months. The government can save on several count like erection of poles and wires to provide electricity to remote areas, maintenance of these line, T & D losses, generation of power etc.
Thus I feel it as an important issue on which all stakeholders like policy makers, government at central, state and district level, academicians, community based organisations should give some thought and make efforts to light-up the life of those who still deprived.