Although the share in India of households with access to electricity increased from 44% in 2001 to a whopping 96% in 2020, 37% of schools and 24% of primary health facilities stayed without electricity in 2020.
For this to certainly change, India will have to focus now mainly on more integrated policymaking. As per the latest report by WRI (World Resource Institute), India, a program on education will need to think about the installation of electricity and maintenance requirements as a crucial part of their budget.
The report, Integrating Electricity Priorities into Healthcare and Education in India: A Review of National and Subnational Policies, was introduced on Friday, 26th November, in New Delhi.
“Electricity and education are considered to have a far-fetched relationship but our conversations need to move beyond installing a switchboard in a classroom to ensuring that it is also functional,” Kamal Gaur who is the Deputy Director of Education, Save the Children.
As per the report, India’s strategies to reduce inequality and poverty must line up with actions to improve healthcare, education, and socio-economic development- something which can never be achieved without dependable electricity.
When talking about the crucial connection between electricity and education, Gaur stated, “In my experience, RTE Act compliance is not more than 11-13%. Schools and anganwadi centres need to budget for maintenance along with installation to ensure sustained access.”
The reports said that electricity can certainly enhance access to lighting and cooling of equipment, water and sanitation, and digital resources- all of which are expected to enhance school attendance.
States with a good supply of electricity to their school have higher literacy rates
Assam’s literacy rate is 73% whereas Jharkhand’s is 67%.
In Assam, 19.5% of the total schools and 100% of government schools have electricity, whereas in Jharkhand the statistics are 15.1% for all schools and 93% for the government schools.
As per the report, there are 2 main faults with the electrification policies of our nation:
- Firstly, little focus on reliability. “Although India is close to achieving electricity access for all, its emphasis is on coverage rather than on reliability”.
- Secondly, India’s electrification policies seem to focus mainly on household electrification, with very little or no emphasis at all on the electrification of institutions such as schools and clinics.
As India is on a journey to phase out its coal, several her schools and primary health centres (PHC) continue to live without electricity, due to no supply of electricity. The ones which are not supplied with electricity often do not have a safe and good supply.
“Going ahead, India’s development will try to ensure that it’s focused towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and accommodative of India’s clean energy transition goal,” stated experts.
These SDGs, though, can’t be made sure till India has a continuous supply of electricity in all the schools, anganwadi centres, health centres, and hospitals.
The report is solely based on a review made of 127 national and state policies on healthcare, education, electricity, climate change, among several others.