India began using regional, state-based grid management systems for electricity in the 1960s. The project to connect a national grid started in the 1990s and in December 2013, after establishing regional connections among the five grid systems, the country has had a national grid. Coal is the most used fuel source for this sector, while renewables are slowly but surely growing to occupy larger market positions. In 2017, India became a first-time exporter of electricity supplying over 5.7 thousand GWh to its neighbors, against an import of about 5.5 thousand GWh.
The socio-economic growth of the largest democracy in the world seems to be directly proportional to its installation, demand and consumption of electricity. What was a 16.3 kWh per capita consumption in 1947, has now grown significantly to about 1.15 kWh per capita as of 2018. Domestic consumption of electricity has increased from 10 percent in 1947 to 24.2 percent in 2018; and for industrial sectors, consumption increased from 41.5 percent to 70.8 percent during the same time period.
While there is affordability of power and a steady industry growth, power reserves fail to reach all the nooks and corners of a vast India. As per the 2011 census, only 55.3 percent of rural households used electricity as a light source. In contrast, this was 92.7 percent in urban areas.
The general elections of 2014 elected Narendra Modi of the Bhartiya Janta Party, who promised to electrify all Indian homes during his term as Prime Minister. With the help of the Ministry of Power’s Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, it was announced in April 2018 that India had achieved 100 percent electrification of all rural and urban households. The government considers a village electrified when it has the basic infrastructure and when ten percent of its households and public places have power.
The World Bank estimated that over one billion people had no electricity, with India and Nigeria leading the list of most power-deficient countries. As Asia’s third-largest economy, one of the many things holding the country back is its power shortage. Indians with electricity are facing blackouts daily, resorting to using diesel-run generators or inverters to cope.