Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her maiden Budget speech today, July 5, talked about the government’s focus on rural development and electrification of rural areas. The government will ensure round-the-clock power supply for all, Sitharaman said.
Sitharaman said that the Narendra Modi government keeps “Gaon, Garib and Kisan at the centre” of everything that it does.
She said PM’s Ujjwala Yojana & Saubhagya Yojana have transformed the lives of every rural family and stated that by 2022, every single rural family will have electricity and clean cooking facility.
“By 2022, every single rural family except those who are unwilling to take the connection will have electricity and a clean cooking facility,” Sitharaman said in her speech.
She said that the government’s attempt will be to improve electricity supply to all states at affordable rates. Along with a new power tariff policy for the stressed sector, a special package for the power sector is in the pipeline.
In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ – for free electricity for all. The scheme’s objective was to provide free electricity connections to the poor, and for others, at a very low cost.
March 31, 2019, was initially set by the government as the deadline for providing electricity for all households. As per Saubhagya website, nearly all states have achieved 100 percent electrification, except Chhattisgarh, where 99.67 percent electrification was achieved.
The finance minister spoke about the current power situation in the country and proposed steps to improve the sector.
She also elaborated on steps to boost the rural economy, stating the importance of upgrading roads connecting villages to rural markets. For this, over the next five years, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana Phase 3 is envisaged to upgrade 1,25,000 km of road length.
“I am happy and satisfied to report that India will be made Open Defecation Free on October 2nd, 2019, as per the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Sitharaman said. Further, in order to undertake sustainable solid waste management in every village, she proposed to expand the Swachh Bharat Mission.
“9.6 crore toilets have been constructed since October 2, 2014. More than 5.6 lakh villages have become open defecation free. We have to build on this success. I propose to expand the Swachh Bharat Mission to undertake sustainable solid waste management in every village, harnessing the latest technology,” she said.
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