Punjab has always tried to provide subsidies to those who have been in the need of it. Be it farmers or the poor BPL residents of the state. The Cabinet in December of 2011 decided to give away 200 units of free electricity for domestic consumption every month to SC and BPL households. The Sukhbir Kalia committee did recommend the state government to do otherwise but the government gave importance to the needs of the poor people of the state.
In providing free 200 units of power to the poor of the state the government in 2013 took a burden of Rs. 829.29 crore. Meanwhile by providing subsidy to farmers for using pumps and other machines the load on the government came to be Rs. 4,778.13 crores in 2013-14.
The State electricity board that provides these power units to the farmers and the SC and BPL families every month is paid out in full by the state government.
Punjab state electricity board has grown in large numbers since the SAD-BJP led government came to power. The connection of electricity in the state before the government led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal came up there were less than 6800000 connections and in the year 2014-15 the total connections in the state have been recorded at 8329976. Of these 6974504 are connections in general households. Considerable increase in the connections in poor households has been seen in the past few years. This has been due to the allocation of the free 2000 units of power per month.
The energy growth of the state has also seen a rise in the past few years. In the year 2014-15 according to state electricity board stats 46034.90 net energy units of power were generated.
Providing free 200 units of power to the poor is one of the many pro-poor schemes started by the Punjab government. A few of them include Atta-dal scheme for BPL card holders, regulation of unauthorised societies and 5 marla plots for housing scheme.
The announcement of providing 200 units of electricity was even made by the INC government in the past but the delivery was made sure by SAD and BJP led government. The INC government approved the scheme for just one year.
This benefit is being availed by nearly 18 Lakh families as of now in the state. The subsidy by the government in the state has played a key role in helping the SC and BPL families. Now that Punjab has been producing more units of energy to distribute providing 200 free units of powers works in everyone’s interest the major thing to take note being that the government has maintained its Pro poor stand and acted in their favour.