Fact Check

Shashi Tharoor’s Exasperating Farrago of Villages & Households

Shashi Tharoor

At 16:51 hours on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, Congress MP and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor posted a tweet claiming the current government has been moving goalposts. (See below)

Mr Tharoor, like a lot of leaders from his party as well as some commentators and media houses, appears to suffer from the same inability to distinguish between the concepts of village and household electrification. Only today, we have rebutted an article in The Wire which made the same error.

Here are the facts for Mr Tharoor:

Electrification of a village means connecting the village to the electric grid at the minimum end of the definition. It is not the same as intensive door-to-door or household electrification.

This definition of village electrification was not coined by the current government, but has remained unchanged since 1997. According to this definition, at the least, if a village is connected to the grid, it is considered electrified.

Now, in his Independence Day speech on August 15, 2015, the Prime Minister had said that every village in the country would be electrified within 1,000 days.

As it happens, the deadline for electrifying all villages is May 1, 2018. If we calculate back to August 15, 2015, that is about 990 days!

As for the progress of village electrification, out of the 18,452 unelectrified villages identified as of April 2015, 16,341 villages have already been electrified under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).

Coming to household electrification, that is a different matter altogether. It is the next step after the village is electrified. The deadline for that, as per government announcement on December 22, 2017, is March 31, 2019 – that is the deadline for universal household electrification and the Saubhagya scheme, as the logical next step, is already working towards it.

Therefore, to sum up, much like the writer in The Wire we have rebutted today, Mr Tharoor is also unable to tell the difference between village and household electrification, and he also appears to have misled people with the deadlines: On August 15, 2015, the PM said 1,000 days for complete village electrification. The deadline for that is May 1, 2018 – which is a little short of 1,000 days. And the correct deadline for universal electrification is March 31, 2019. How then are the goalposts being moved?

As for the allegation of the NDA government renaming UPA projects, perhaps we ought to direct Mr Tharoor back to our article The Names And Games of Schemes: A Fact-Check for Shashi Tharoor from last June which was written specifically for the edification of Mr Shashi Tharoor.