Women in rural India – RGGVY empowered the rural women

Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana(RGGVY) has made a significant difference to the lives of women in rural India. Various evaluation studies of RGGVY commissioned by Rural Electrification Corporation reveal that the programme has empowered the rural women. 75% of women surveyed in Rajasthan stated that they are able to work in the fields after electricity reached their homes.

In Madhya Pradesh, 85% of the villagers, in particular, women and children feel more secure and protected against wild animals, venomous reptiles and robbers due to electrified households and street lights.

As many as 96% of un-electrified villages have been electrified across the country till now and intensive electrification of 80% villages has been completed while free electricity connections have been provided to 77% BPL households under the flagship programme, RGGVY of Government of India.

Most people reported that they have benefited from electricity connections since they are now able to use bulbs, fan, TV as well as mobile phones. In UP, a significant percent of those surveyed (43%) reported to have started using mobile phones after electrification since it became possible to charge the mobile sets. In Bihar, the most important use of electricity by the beneficiary households, as perceived by them, is for illumination (94.9%), followed by security (89.9%), communication through cellular phones (42.1%), accessing information and entertainment (52.1%) and comforts by running fans (18.4%).

Another positive impact of electrification reported by people is that they are able to establish small scale activities in homes like weaving, tailoring, and grocery shops. Among those surveyed, people of BPL categories are very happy to get electricity connection free of cost and using the benefits due to electricity.

Similarly students in all states reported to have benefited a great deal as after electrification under RGGVY, they are now able to study for longer hours and also save money & time which they had to spend on kerosene lamp. They also feel more comfortable during summer days due to the fans in the class. In Andhra Pradesh, 88% of beneficiaries reported positive impact on education. In UP, nearly 64% reported using electricity for education, 56% In Madhya Pradesh and 48 % In Bihar.

In J & K, most people feel that security & standard of life has increased after RGGVY implementation. Villagers are able to get the treatment in the night. In some of the villages, it was found that the villagers use electrical appliances for crop processing. Many shops were also found to be electrified in the villages through RGGVY line.

Increase in income is reported in most states though households stated that substantial increases in income depend on programmes of direct employment generation like MNREGA among others.

The evaluation studies were carried out in 20 states by by M/s IRADe, M/s TERI, M/s Sambodhi Research & Communications and M/s Tetratech Ltd.

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