While we expect a counter article to respond to the issue at hand, Alt News takes the alternate path of dodging the issue. In their article, AltNews attributed the claims of an article in DNA to Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s Facebook post. DNA’s article is an independent story which cites the rural electrification programme as one of the factors responsible for the bright images of India at night released by NASA. Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s post nowhere makes this claim. To make it easy for AltNews to realise this error, we wrote it in bold blue letters that an independent article is falsely being projected as the government’s claim. In their response, they have failed to even acknowledge their mistake.
Minister Piyush Goyal stated in his Facebook post that the images shared by NASA prove the success of all the efforts that have gone into making “power for all” a reality.
In our article, we listed some of these efforts, from strengthening rural power infrastructure at the ground level to macro-level reforms like reducing India’s energy deficit from a massive 4.2% at which Congress left it, to a mere 0.7% in 2017. As for Altnews’s interest in bringing in rural electrification and comparing NDA and UPA’s performance, they leave out the fact that in the past the very definition of rural electrification was limited to a mere 10% of the village. With its ambitious goal of ‘Power for All’ and its “tireless efforts” as Minister Goyal said in his post, this government is committed to electrifying every household of every village. The villages that the Narendra Modi government has promised to electrify in 1,000 days are the remotest villages- in deep jungles, Naxalite areas, or on mountain peaks. These 18,452 villages were yet to see a lightbulb because previous government did not put in the extra effort of reaching power to villages which are situated in remote corners. Comparing the pace of the two programmes, while leaving out the fact that the targeted villages are the toughest to electrify serves only the alternate truths that some people wish to manufacture. Another difference from the past is that all of us can monitor the programme down to the household level on the GARV app. Commitment as well as transparency were lacking in the rural electrification programme during Congress era.
The NASA images showcase the changing India story from a time of country-wide grid failures to an India which is both coal and power surplus. In fact, Minister Piyush Goyal has also stated in Parliament that India’s electricity generation today is sufficient to handle an increase in demand of as much as 50%. Now if AltNews jumps on this data and asks why do we still have power cuts if India is surplus in power, one needs to understand that it is not the Centre alone, but the effort of all states which translates into better power supply for the people. The Centre can only provide round the clock electricity to the people when state governments buy power at cheap rates from the Power Exchange vidyutpravah.in , and implement and monitor schemes properly. Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath signing the long-pending ‘Power for All’ document with the Centre on Friday is one indication among many that India is poised to shine brighter, and the people of India can easily judge for themselves which government’s efforts are translating into India’s unfolding growth story.