Indian economy is growing and needs more and more energy to maintain its growth (at least growth of that part of India, which is growing). Therefore, there is much discussions about the Energy Security needs of India. In fact, this coming week the current UPA government may fall (or survive) for the option it has chosen.
However, there is also a need to differentiate between the urban and rural energy security, to have a meaningful public debate/discourse on the issue.
Here are some facts, which I could collect:
- A news item about load-shedding in Karnataka last year says:
"The State Government will not enforce load-shedding in urban areas in March and April as students will be preparing for their examinations, Minister for Energy H.D. Revanna has said."
[which may sound strange if one knows that of the 47,000 schools in Karnataka, more than 41,000 are in rural area]
- Similarly, a recent news item from Maharashtra, mentions:
"In highly industrialised urban areas, the load shedding will be from four to seven hours. In other urban areas, it will be from seven to 8.5 hours, while in the rural areas it will be for 11 hours, according to an official release said here today."
"Grid connection remains the most favoured approach to rural electrification for the majority of rural households. Indeed the latest government programme for rural electrification, the RGGVY, focuses in particular on a vast expansion of the existing grid to reach all villages by 2012. Whilst state utilities typically report an average cost of supply at around Rs.3/kWh most studies... suggest that cost of delivery to rural areas can be around three times generation costs. A recent estimate for a Gujarat case study, based on Gujarat Electricity Board data, put the true cost of delivery to rural areas at over Rs.9/kWh.
As the distance from the grid increases, the cost of grid connection rises considerably. It increases costs by roughly Rs1/kWh per kilometre of expansion to individual villages. Typically grid tariffs for poor rural households range from Rs.0-10/month for the poorest households and Rs.0-130/month for remaining domestic customers. These charges typically lie well below the cost of supply and are sustained through redistributive policies, tariff cross-subsidies and financial relief to loss-making State electricity boards (SEB)."
"The dependability of rural areas on electricity is less as compared to the dependability of urban areas. The agricultural sector normally does not require power for 24 hours. This concept has also been accepted by the Hon. Commission during the discussions on the tariff proposals wherein a maximum of 13 hours use per day is considered for agricultural pumps."
- 91% of the 0.7mn schools are located in rural areas
- of the approx 28,000 integrated higher secondary schools (i.e., from primary to higher secondary), about 62% are in villages
- overall about 87% of India's schools are in rural areas
"...there are 42.12 million enterprises in the country engaged in different economic activities other than crop production and plantation. Out of which, 25.81 million enterprises (61.3%) are in the rural areas and 16.31 million enterprises (38.7%) in the urban areas." These rural non-farm enterprises also account for 51% of employment.
So, are there any options?
...of course, there are!!! - but that will need another post!...