By Prarthana Mitra
The nodal agency responsible for total rural electrification in India, Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been approached by several African and West Asian nations to help light up their villages, according to sources close to the development.
The state-run body recently announced their extraordinary achievement in making electricity available in every Indian village for the first time in history.
Here’s what happened
As of April 28, electricity finally reached all of India’s 597,464 census villages, marking a historic achievement for the REC. Chairman and Managing Director P.V. Ramesh said, “Given our experience and expertise in the field of electrification, we are prepared to provide a range of services and financing for developing power sector in other emerging economies.”
Syria has reportedly expressed interest in enlisting the REC’s expertise to aid electrification reconstruction work in the country which has been ravaged for over seven years by the ongoing civil war. “We will extend our support and help in such countries, said an anonymous official source at the REC. India has been looking at rebuilding Syria’s power sector, including a power plant in the country, Mint reported on 12 August 2016.
India’s engagement with the middle east has also been renewed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jordan, Palestine, the United Arab Emirates and Oman this year. Jordan, for instance, has sought help in bringing electricity to the areas still devoid of it, in order to complete the nation’s electrification programme which is in its last phase.
Certain sub-Saharan African countries, however, have expressed interest in the REC developing their entire power infrastructure from financing to technology transfer, detailed project report (DPR) preparation to execution.
Why you should care
India has been involved in providing assistance to developing or underdeveloped nations in the area of power transmission for a while.
State-run Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) has left its mark in 20 countries including Kenya, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, and is responsible for implementing the 220KV transmission link in Afghanistan that brings power from Uzbekistan. “We are willing to provide consultancy to those who seek assistance through the consulting arms of PGCIL and REC,” said power secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.
Back home, the aim is to equip every rural household with electricity connections, now that all villages have electricity. Under REC’s rural electrification package, the centre’s Saubhagya scheme is expected to bring light to every Indian home by 2018. REC hopes to recreate these achievements overseas and strengthen India’s bilateral ties with these nations.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.