Two years of Narendra Modi Electricity, bank accounts for the poor help keep PM popular
For Indian farmer Sompal Singh, the light bulb that flickers outside his mud hut home is a symbol of progress: the first time electricity from the grid has reached his remote village since independence in 1947.
It is also a big deal for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has promised to provide electricity to every village before the end of 2018 and is trying to woo the huge rural population ahead of a key election in Uttar Pradesh state next year.
Power sector where change is reaching distressed rural communities in Uttar Pradesh who will go a long way to deciding the outcome of the 2017 ballot.
It was the prospect of tangible change that voters chose in 2014, propelling Modi to a landslide election victory won on the bold promise that “the good days are coming” for 1.3 billion people and by tapping dreams of a more modern India.
power reforms and the creation of tens of millions of new bank accounts have helped Modi maintain his popularity.
In a February poll for India Today magazine, 40% of respondents chose him as the best candidate to be next prime minister, more than any other politician.
Modi is personally stepping up pressure on ministers and bureaucrats to deliver results on everything from financial inclusion to infrastructure and electricity to jobs.
One senior government source said Modi warned individual ministers this month that he was personally monitoring the performance of each ministry to shake them into action, as his impatience with underperformance grows.
He is also expected to unveil a reshuffle of ministers within weeks, and underperformers could lose their jobs.
Underlining the scale of his ambition, Modi has told power officials he wants to announce that every village has been electrified at his next federal budget in early 2017, 18 months ahead of the original target, a senior official told Reuters.
That would allow him to tell voters he had beaten his own target on a flagship policy.
“This government’s job is to focus its energies on development, to take it (electricity) to every home, not like the erstwhile years where if the power reached … a few homes in the village the government thought the work was over,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal said in a recent interview.