Portals such as ‘Alt News’ and ‘The Logical Indian’ are shooting in the dark hoping to strike at either NASA or the Power Ministry’s genuine achievements. NASA had published two photos, which depicted night imagery of India in 2012 and 2016. They showed the stunning increase in lighting obviously reflecting the massive increase in electricity and power.
Mr. Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Power posted about the NASA story on social media, stating that this was a result of the tireless work of the Government towards “Power for All”. However, ‘Alt News’ and ‘The Logical Indian’ in their articles deliberately and wrongly correlated a brighter India as shown in the NASA images solely with the government’s rural electrification project.
They linked the NASA Images to a story in DNA news outlet, which was clearly an independent story. They tried to create a false case against Piyush Goyal and then demolish it in order to bring down the credibility of the Narendra Modi led government.
However, it is obvious from the social media post of the Minister that he is talking of all the work towards achieving “Power for All”.
It is well known that Prime Minister Modi has presented a vision of ‘24×7 Electricity for All’ in India, by 2022 and Piyush Goyal has been putting in hard work to achieve this.
Due to these efforts more than 13,000 villages have been electrified ahead of target out of the remaining 18,452 villages that were unelectrified since 70 years of independence.
However, a little known fact is that the flagship scheme of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) under which this drive is being conducted is actually not just limited to these unelectrified villages. A major part of the scheme is to strengthen the existing infrastructure in all the nearly 6,00,000 villages of the country in which many hamlets and households still do not have electricity (This is called intensive electrification. The speed of rural electrification has increased significantly since this Government came to power. In fact, BJP Government has provided 44.4 lakh free connections to BPL households in 2016-17 as compared to 9.6 lakhs during UPA’s 2013-14. So much for “Congress ka haath aam aadmi ke saath”.
The flagship UJALA scheme where LED bulbs are being distributed has now touched nearly 53 crore (23 crore by government and 30 crore by private). These LED bulbs shine brighter and consume less electricity.
The Government has also been changing the face of urban areas with its streetlight replacement programme with energy efficient streetlights. More than 20 lakh have already been replaced in the country and cities are now saving money on electricity bills while shining brighter.
Overall, as a result of the government’s efforts in the power sector, the energy shortage has come down to 0.7% in 2017 from 4.2% in 2014. The total power generation installed capacity has increased by 31% from March 2014 to March 2017. With surplus power capacity, all States are free to purchase electricity and supply it to consumers.
Anybody, who recalls 2012 will remember this is the year of the largest power outage in history when more than 62 crore people of India were pushed into darkness. Alternatively, 2016 is the first ever year in the history of India when it became a net exporter of electricity changing from import dependency.
Outlets like ‘Alt News’ and ‘The Logical Indian’ should remember this and not suffer from amnesia when they peddle fake news and attribute news to BJP ministers. Since, India is on track toward achieving its massive goal of achieving 24×7 “Power for All”, some outlets are using ‘Fake news’ to distort the government’s accomplishments so far and undermine its credibility. This false narrative will not last long because as they say “jhooth bole kauwa kate”.