Govt launches Rs 515-cr solar scheme for electrification of houses in tribal areas

The Central government has launched a new solar scheme worth Rs 515 crore for electrification in PVTG habitations and villages under the PM-JANMAN programme
Govt launches Rs 515-cr solar scheme for electrification of houses in tribal areas
Govt launches Rs 515-cr solar scheme for electrification of houses in tribal areasEnergy Watch

New Delhi: The Central government has launched a new solar scheme worth Rs 515 crore for electrification in Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) habitations and villages under the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) programme. In a notification dated January 4, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said, “The sanction of the President is accorded for the implementation of a New Solar Power Scheme (for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) Habitation/Villages) under Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) during 2023-24 to 2025-26.”

Launched in November 2023, the PM-JANMAN scheme is aimed at improving the socio-economic status of PVTGs by bridging gaps in health, education, livelihoods, by improving basic infrastructure in Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) communities, habitations, and families. The Union Cabinet approved PM-JANMAN with an outlay of Rs 24,104 crore to focus on 11 critical interventions through the existing programmes of nine line ministries. One of the ministries tasked with the implementation of this programme is the MNRE. An allocation of Rs 15,000 crore has been made for the next three years under the Development Action Plan for the Scheduled Tribes (DAPST) to implement this mission.

New solar scheme for tribal areas

Under the newly announced solar scheme, the government aims to cover the electrification of one lakh un-electrified households in PVTG areas identified by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. These areas are spread across 18 states and Union Territories (UT): Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and the UT of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Where power supply is not techno-economically feasible through the grid, the scheme has made provisions for off-grid solar systems.

“In addition, the scheme includes a provision for providing solar lighting in 1,500 Multi-Purpose Centres (MPCs) in PVTG areas where electricity through grid is not available,” said the MNRE notification.

Financial outlay

The total financial outlay for the new solar scheme is Rs 515 crore. It will be disbursed over three years, starting with Rs 20 crore in the current financial year, Rs 255 crore in 2024-25, and Rs 240 crore in 2025-26. Out of Rs 515 crore, the government plans to use Rs 500 crore for electrification of houses in tribal areas, which will include setting up 0.3 kW solar off-grid system for one lakh PVTG houses. For the second component of the scheme, under which the government plans to provide solar street lighting in 1,500 MPCs in tribal areas, Rs 15 crore has been earmarked.

For electrification of houses, the government will provide Rs 50,000 crore per household or the actual cost. For solar lighting, the government will provide Rs 1 lakh per MPC.

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“The funds for the implementation of this Scheme would be met from the DAPST allocation of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)…,” read the notification.

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