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BJP manifesto: Party promises energy access through Ujjwala, solar power | Lok Sabha Elections News


The BJP will push various programs to ensure the energy security of the country if elected back to power at the Centre. This will include extending existing schemes for energy access and enabling more clean energy solutions.

The flagship Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) program will be expanded further, and piped gas connections will be extended beyond the current 1.1 crore households, the BJP said in its election manifesto on Sunday. In September 2023, the government extended the scheme till 2026 and announced at least 75 lakh new connections will be given during the period, taking the total number of PMUY connections to 10.35 crore.

Introduced back in May 2016, its objective is to make clean cooking fuel such as LPG available to rural and deprived households which were otherwise using traditional cooking fuels such as firewood, coal, cow-dung cakes. Till 2022-23, it had covered up to 12 refills for 90 million beneficiaries. In October last year, the government expanded the support under PMUY by Rs. 100 to Rs. 300. For FY25, the subsidy is set to cost the exchequer a total of Rs 12,000 crore.

On the other hand, expanding nationwide city gas distribution coverage is part of the government’s target of raising India’s share of natural gas in its energy basket to 15 per cent by 2030, up from the current 6.8 per cent. Earlier this year, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) finished rolling out licenses for supplying piped natural gas (PNG) for the entirety of India, barring the Andaman and Lakshadweep islands. Currently, there are 12 million PNG connections in the country, up from 2.54 million connections across 66 districts in 2013-14. Last year, the government informed Parliament that authorized entities have to provide 125 million PNG connections by 2030, including in rural and urban areas based on Minimum Work Programme targets.

Increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy basket of the country has been a focus area of the Modi government. The manifesto has reiterated India’s climate action commitment to the UN to add 500 GW of renewable energy. This, the party said, will be through solar parks and green energy corridors. These two flagship projects are already in motion with close to 30 solar parks identified and half the capacity of green corridors already awarded.

The “Sankalp Patra” has also promised to expand nuclear energy by developing small modular reactors (SMRs). SMR nuclear reactors are generally 300 megawatt equivalent or less, designed with modular technology using module factory fabrication, pursuing economies of series production, and short construction times. India is currently engaging with France to co-develop SMR and advanced modular reactor (AMR) technologies.

On the international stage, the manifesto’s promise of elevating India as a global soft power rests on plans to extend and deepen two critical plurilateral alliances focused on energy. While the International Solar Alliance began India’s efforts to forge global alliances back in 2015, the Global Biofuels Alliance announced on the sidelines of last year’s G20 Summit in Delhi is set to begin work on setting standards for biofuel soon, officials have said.

Free electricity to poor through solar energy

The BJP’s manifesto for the 2024 General Elections has also highlighted providing “free electricity” to poor households through solar rooftop systems. This is under the recently announced PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana. In February, the Union Cabinet approved the scheme with a total outlay of Rs 75,021 crore for installing rooftop solar and providing free electricity up to 300 units every month to 10 million households. The scheme will provide central financial assistance (CFA) for installing solar rooftop systems for households.

The national portal for the scheme is now spearheaded by state-owned financier REC, already has 20 banks and non-banking financial institutions that will lend to households seeking solar rooftop systems, Business Standard reported recently. Apart from this, eight public sector utilities (PSUs) under the aegis of the Ministry of Power will take forward this scheme in several states, the power ministry said recently.

First Published: Apr 14 2024 | 7:05 PM IST


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