PANAJI: In a place like India, Electricity is termed as the fundamental right of every citizen, and it is undoubtedly the modern necessity in this day and age for every individual, area and household.
From urban cities turning into smart cities, the rural side of the land is a little backtracked with its still struggling stage for a proper supply of electricity.
When we look back to the Rural Electrification Act of 1986, we see the highlighted points of why such an Act was needed. At the time, when farmers benefited tremendously from it, there were still many homes and villages that waited for their time of development.
Even today, on a single visit to the most rural parts of Goa, we see many homes studded in darkness with just a single light of a candle.
Melexia Gabreil, a student of NIOS from Aradi, Candolim speaks on the matter of how the need for electrification has been there all throughout her childhood.
“I remember during my days of school, and even in college, we would study before the sunset knowing that once it turned dark, we wouldn’t get a chance to open our books as in the candlelight it would get difficult to read.” Melexia further emphasised how despite the electricity supply that was given to the village, the power outages were very frequent, and the need for a proper power supply was scarce. She further explained, “Calling the electricity department during shutdowns or outages would be time-consuming as our calls were always on hold or busy.”
Providing electricity to the rural parts of the land not only benefits the villages but also allows the state to benefit greatly. Electricity provided to rural lands offers great economic development, as it works as an output for various productive uses like agriculture, rural industries and for farming, as well as the farmers that can easily use machinery for their work. It is known to carry multiple benefits to the residents of the rural lands, like an increase in labour supply for men and women, easy access to schooling for boys and girls, household per capita income and expenditure, as well as to reduce poverty.
A lack of rural electrification shows an increase in the digital divide which causes a major gap of isolation and educational barriers as many institutes have now taken the online route to education and worsening gender discrimination. With the access to electricity for the rural residents, it helps the state in development as there is greater access to information, a significant reduction in cost for the labour sector, equal opportunity for women and children and higher per capita income as it is measured through progress, advancement and better quality of life.
Manguesh Kalpadre, a construction worker from Valpoi, says, “It is not a difficult feat to accomplish, as the technologies have advanced greatly to make it easier to supply a proper line of electricity supply to our villages. We work daily in and out of hard labour to provide for our families and try to make those urban inventions reach our homes as well, but without proper support or a voice, we cannot help but sit and wait for people to realise our troubles.”
If we put the numbers on a scale on how much electricity is needed, then approximately in each village, the total average electricity on demand is about 1,826 kWh per day. With a division of 52% contributed to households, 7% to enterprises and the remaining given to agriculture, sources of electricity and diesel generators.
Sherry Pinto, a housewife residing in the La Campala Colony, speaks on the obstacles and electricity as a basic need of every home “It would bring much advancement to their lifestyle as the need of electricity is scarce in many villages and homes around us. Even though it is a basic necessity that we know is needed, and even the rural residents, not many go forward with making an effort to actually go ahead with these projects. The ones who do make an effort receive a lot of backlash and obstacles as they go about the process of it”.
Electricity is seen as a global enabler for the development of sectors, the state, social welfare, and improved healthcare and it is only increasing and growing into the backbone of the world’s energy supply. Rural electrification helps reach out to poor households and greatly impact their lives by providing new opportunities and enhancing the synergies between the agriculture and non-agriculture sector.