In a bid to increase the income of farmers in rural Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi Government on July 24 approved a farm solar power scheme. The ‘Mukhyanmantri Kisan Aaye Badhotri Solar Yojna’ is aimed at increasing the annual income of the farmers by three to five times.
Arvind Kejriwal announces new solar power scheme
According to the scheme, approved by the Delhi cabinet, private companies would be allowed to install solar power panel. However, It should not cover more than one-third of the total farmland. The solar panels will be installed in a way that the agricultural land isn’t affected. As rent, the farmers will be paid Rs 1 lakh per acre with a 6% annual increase for 25 years.
To keep the farming process as smooth as possible, the solar panels would be installed 3.5 meters above the surface, said Kejriwal. Additionally, the farmers will get 1,000 unit free electricity per acre from the solar plant annually. Presently, the estimated annual income of farmers is Rs 20000 to Rs 30000 per acre, and after this scheme is rolled out, Kejriwal believes that the farmer’s income will be increased manifold.
Reportedly, the scheme is likely to roll out within the next eight to nine months and is a part of the government’s green budget which was announced earlier this year. According to the Times Of India, the scheme is going to work under Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model, where the farmers will not have to invest anything in the capacity building. Moreover, Kejriwal mentioned that five private companies have already shown interest in investing in solar power projects.
"Delhi govt announces big step for the farmers in the rural Delhi, they can earn huge from lifted solar plant in their field which can earn them ₹1 Lakh/Acre per year in their income. Farmers to be given 1000 unit free electricity per acre every year"- Delhi CM @ArvindKejriwal pic.twitter.com/sQfxStyXau
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) July 24, 2018
Generating power at a lower rate
According to the Statistical Handbook of Delhi, the total area which is cropped in the national capital is 34,750 hectares. Being predominantly urban in nature, only 0.71% of the state’s population is engaged in agriculture. According to officials in a Times Of India article, six acres of land would be needed to install a 1MW solar plant, which is going to generate approximately 13 lakh units of electricity annually. Additionally, the Solar Power Department is going to sign a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with various departments of the Delhi government like health, public works and Delhi Jal Board which are bulk power consumers.
Explaining the multipronged benefits of the scheme, Kejriwal said that at present, various government departments buy electricity at Rs 9 per unit whereas, solar power is going to be available at Rs 4 or Rs 5, reported Livemint. Hence, the government will save Rs 300 to Rs 400 crores using the farm solar scheme.
Reportedly, Kejriwal stated that this would be a big step towards achieving clean energy while helping the farmers increase their incomes without affecting farming activities. He hoped that this model could be emulated by the rest of the nation to address the plight of the farmers who have been suffering from low incomes.
The Kejriwal government also Rs. 1 crore compensation for the family members of the martyrs from the army, navy and air force, Delhi Police, paramilitary forces, fire service, home guards and rescue forces in Delhi. According to The Hindu, even though the scheme was introduced a few months after coming to power, the Lt-Governor created complications where people did not receive any compensation for the last two or three years.