M A I N   N E W S

PM launches national rural electrification programme
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
As part of the UPA Government’s commitment to electrify all the villages, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today launched the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (National Rural Electrification programme) under which all the villages would be electrified by 2009.

In an impressive function organised here, that was attended by the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Cabinet Ministers, Prime Minister said, “there is need to work towards a more rational pricing and distribution policies to ensure fresh investments in the power sector to generate more energy in the country.

Under the scheme, the Central Government will give 100 per cent subsidy to electrify around one lakh villages mostly in backward states like UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Rajasthan.

Interestingly, the rural electrification programme in Punjab and Haryana has been completed in mid- seventies.

Later a video-conferencing was also organised with the Chief Ministers of various states. He said the government was committed to providing access to electricity to every village in the country by 2009 via the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana. The Yojana, he said is one of the most important promises the government is committed to fulfilling during its tenure.

“We have already taken far too long a time to bring the light and energy that electrification provides to rural India. We cannot delay the implementation of this basic commitment any longer. We shall honour it this time in full measure’’, Dr Manmohan Singh said.

Referring to the need for energy conservation, Prime Minister said every energy user should be aware of its economic and environmental cost. “Even when governments offer subsidies to certain categories of users and there is scope for that, they must understand the relevance of this subsidy and have respect for the asset being provided to them. I therefore urge our political leadership to take a more long-term and rational perspective in pursuing our energy policy”, he added.

The Prime Minister said, “The challenge of economic generation, distribution and pricing of electricity has to be addressed in a non-partisan manner so that we can in fact ensure rapid spread of electrification across the country, and we can attract simultaneously massive new investment in this vital area. I would very much like this matter to be a subject matter of broad national consensus cutting across party lines in our country.”

“We can attract simultaneously massive new investment in this vital area. I would very much like this matter to be a subject matter of broad national consensus cutting across party lines in our country,’’ the Prime Minister said.

“As a country of one billion people and a dynamic economy growing at rates of over 7 per cent per annum, we are going to consume more energy and we will have therefore to generate this energy,” he said.

According to the 2001 census, about 43.5 per cent of the rural households have been provided with electricity connections. Over one lakh villages remains to be electrified.

Speaking through video conferencing, Bihar Governor Buta Singh lamented that during the past decade, over 11,000 villages in the state had been rather de-electrified, and now over 25,000 villages had no electricity.



PM to release ‘Dandi March’ postage stamps
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will release special postage stamps to commemorate 'salt satyagraha'. Dr Manmohan Singh will release four stamps showing the marchers led by Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday.

National Advisory Council (NAC) Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Communications and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran would be present on the occasion.


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