RURAL DEVELOPMENT Electrification for Prosperity

By Aurangzeb Soharwardi published 2009

Pakistan is striving to attain  socio-economic  development objectives , which dictate that Rural uplift must commensurate with urban progress. Pakistan as a developing country is striving to invest its human, financial and technical resources for this purpose to keep pace with the contemporary world.  Initially most of the rural development plans and green revolution technology attempted in Pakistan between the years 1950 and 1970 were a part of ldquoinduced transformations and institutional innovations”. The first formal rural development initiative was launched through Village Agricultural and Industrial Development Program ( V-AID) in 1953 which was followed by a number of approaches and interventions . The programs objectives were, increasing income of the rural people , raising agricultural production , establishment of rural small scale industries and providing social and physical infrastructure through four types of village organizations , i.e village councils, youth clubs , cooperatives and social centers . Government of Pakistan launched various rural development program under different labels in the past 62 years. The program worth mentioning are Village Aid, Basic Democracy System and Integrated Rural Program (IRDP). The IRDP was started in July 1972. The others were ,Peoples Works Program(1972-77) ,Local Govt. and Rural Development Program Prime Ministers Five Point Program (1985-88) ,Peoples Program (1988-90 and 93-97) ,Tameer-e-Watan Program (1991-93 and 1998-2000) ,Social Action Program (SAP ) , Khushal Pakistan Program , Tameer-e-Pakistan Program (TPP) , Khushal Pakistan Program-I (KPP-I) . Ministry of rural development is regulating the affairs and a foundation is also functional in Pakistan. Rural Development Foundation (RDF) of Pakistan’s mission is to act as a facilitator in order to make the people aware of their potentials as a force to undertake their development according to their own aspiration and priorities. The approach is “Village-Based People Centered Action Oriented Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development”. The Foundation works both at micro as well as macro level. At micro level it is mainly responsible to organize communities in the form of Village Development Committees (VDCs) and to train them to undertake development projects according to their own needs and priorities. At macro level the Foundation plays the adequacy role by organizing seminars, workshops, forums and consultations to sharpen the focus on government, policy makers, planners and private sector on the rural areas of Pakistan to cover 45,000 villages. The entire rural Pakistan was divided into 625 Growth Centres (Marakiz). Marakiz or Growth Centers were selected having potential to develop into 625 townships in the rural sector where more than 70% of Pakistan lives. Since 1982, the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) in Pakistan has also been working in a poor and rugged region located among four of the highest mountain ranges of the world, including the Karakorum, Himalayas, Hindukush and Pamirs. Before the Karakorum Highway was built in the late 1970s, the area was isolated from the rest of Pakistan.. The nine RSPs work in partnership with rural communities in 93 districts in the four provinces of Pakistan, Northern Areas, and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. They have helped organize nearly 1.67 million rural households into 100,700 participatory organizations of men and women with 1.90 million members. A report was submitted to  Senate Standing Committee on Local Government and Rural Development  that An amount of Rs 4.420 billions was allocated for local development projects identified by Parliamentarians in their respective constituencies. The allocation was approved under Public Sector Development Program (PSDP-2008 and 2009) for provision of basic facilities and improvement of the infrastructure. The schemes including construction and improvement of roads, provision of electricity, gas and telephone facilities; sanitation and drinking water supply would be on cards for completion with an amount of Rs 10 million each for all Members of the both Houses. According to Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act 2005, poverty alleviation related expenditures are not to be reduced below 4.5% of estimated GDP for any given year, and the PRSP expenditures, as reported in, are in line with this law..The PRSP current expenditures have increased from Rs 129.6 billion in fiscal year 2002 to Rs 263.8 billion in fiscal year 2006, registering an increase of 103% .  Electrification is one of the main infrastructural requirements for agricultural and agro-industrial development, employment generation and improvement in the quality of life of people in rural areas . Since the concept of corporate farming has emerged, it has further necessitated the utmost requirement of electricity  for agri- based economy. A remote village or remote hamlet will be deemed to be electrified if at least 10% of the households are provided with lighting facility. In addition, energy may also be provided for community facilities, pumping for drinking water supply or irrigation, as well as for economic and income generating activities. Village-scale hydro-electric programs exist in many developing countries throughout the world. Well-implemented schemes provide a cheap and reliable source of power from a renewable, indigenous source. I n Pakistan, total Agriculture usage of electricity is about 12 %.  At present Government of Pakistan has a strong vision to provide electricity and drinking water to every household in Pakistan, thus providing the most basic necessity of life to every citizen who is deprived of this privilege. As part of this program, Government of Pakistan has developed a program to electrify more than 7500 villages through Alternate / Renewable Energy sources also, along with hydel or thermal energy, in a short span of time. Maximum share of this program will be contributed by Solar Energy Solutions with Wind Energy following up. Bio Diesel and Innovative Solutions (Lanterns, Hand Chargers) will have a small contribution, yet huge enough when compared with span of whole program. This task has been assigned to PEPCO, in coordination with AEDB and other related organizations. At the inception of WAPDA, the number of electrified villages in the country was 609. The extensive village electrification has been implemented by the  PEPCO, which is responsible for implementation in all the provinces including Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). After the bifurcation of WAPDA, PEPCO  initiated an extensive Rural Electrification Program with a view to uplift the socio-economic status of people of Pakistan in rural areas who are deprived of basic amenities of life like electricity. The rural electrification has not only improved standard of living but has helped in increase of agricultural outputs. Rural electrification has also facilitated integration of rural population and impending their migration to the cities.. Administrative Units and Mouzas Reporting Availability of Electricity in 2008 were in Pakistan  total 38435, N.W.F.P  8788, Punjab  22257 Sindh  4699  and Balochistan  2691 .The Ministry of Water and Power is finalizing a strategy to electrify  37,079 villages by end of this calendar year to achieve the target of electricity for all. It is worth noting that by FY05, 71% villages in the country had access to electricity and the strategy for the electrification of remaining villages in being formulated. Comprehensive  Rural Electrification Program is designed to provide adequate infrastructure and facilities for rural electrification of villages and the target is to achieve 100% rural electrification .. Under the policy of equal access to electricity, the Government of Pakistan decided to implement mass village electrification using its budget on grant basis. The main sources of budget are: (1) Prime minister’s directive, (2) Tameer-e-Pakistan (federal and provincial), (3) Khushal Pakistan Programs 2, which covers not only rural electrification but also rural infrastructure development. Rural electrification in 1990s was characterized by foreign assisted project financed by major donors such as OECF (JBIC), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB). After 2000, the Government of Pakistan took over village electrification at a higher pace; as a result, 71% of rural areas were electrified by FY05. There are a total of 127,568 villages in Pakistan and 90,489 were electrified by FY05. Till February 2008, total number of electrified villages in the country  rose to 125495 from the meager number 609 villages in 1958..This effort by PEPCO has  contributed in enhancing agri production and total villages electrified in Pakistan during last fiscal year  july 2008- june 2009, were 9868 under system augmentation program and PEPCO also executed Khushal Pakistan program  under which it provided complete electricity infra structure to 3227 villages in Punjab, 1156 villages in Sindh , where Village electrification has been taken up as a major initiative, and the Government released Rs. 1.3 billion for this program.  The Sindh government will pay about Rs 1327.081 million to Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) and Hyderabad Electric Supply Corporation (Hesco) to ensure provision of electricity to villages in these two districts. Out of this amount, Rs 600 million will be paid to KESC and Rs 667.081 to Hesco to energise centuries-old goths in various parts of these two districts. HESCO has been instructed to prepare feasibility report and  based on initial surveys it would be determined as to how many villages would be provided electricity through this allocation. 627 villages in NWFP where The Malakand Rural Development Project, that started operation in 2000, is a multi sectoral , participatory, area based rural development project being. The project’s overall objective is poverty reduction, but it has a strong gender and development (GAD) objective as well, where Seventy two percent of the target population lives below the poverty line. Project components include village development services, financial services, road development and implementation support and capacity building for community-based organizations, including community-based health services   1108 villages in Balochistan have been electrified  . For this electrification funds were released under various heads on the discretion of President of Pakistan, prime minister, Governors, Chief ministers and Nazims.  Along with rural electrification, concerted efforts were also invested in planning and executing a comprehensive strategy to provide maximum possible tube well connections to facilitate agriculture sector. Total Tube well connections maintained by PEPCO  are 258,368. Out of these 47,693 are in LESCO,31968 are in GEPCO,31489  in FESCO , 7005 are in IESCO, 60482 in MEPCO, 25840  in PESCO, 8343 in TESCO , 24859 in HESCO and 20671 tube well connections in QUESCO. During the last fiscal year PEPCO installed about 12500 new tube well connections  to facilitate the agriculturists in growing more and more crops, all over the country. Agricultural consumers in Pakistan have an agri- tariff for the payment of electricity dues. The decision to make a uniform tariff was made in 2007.Earlier the tariff  was RS/2.49 per kw/hr, then it was raised to RS/ 2.85 per kw / hr and  presently  the actual tariff is RS /4 per kw/hr , but RS/3 are being charged after   subsidy of RS/1.  With all these efforts, Government  has significantly contributed  in providing electricity facility to the village dwellers and farmers to be compatible with the urban sector through Agricultural production . It has also brought positive social and economic changes in the rural areas of Pakistan which is necessary for sustainable development.      

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