Focus: GS II- Welfare schemes
Why in News?
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is implementing the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyaan (PM-KUSUM) Scheme, under which subsidy is provided for setting up of standalone solar pumps and for the solarization of agricultural pumps.
- In addition to fraudulent websites, WhatsApp and other means are also being used to mislead potential beneficiaries. Ministry has, therefore, strongly advised that people interested in PM-KUSUM Scheme should check the authenticity of the website before providing any personal information or depositing money.
About Pradhan Mantri – Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM)
- The PM-KUSUM scheme was launched by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to support installation of off-grid solar pumps in rural areas and reduce dependence on grid, in grid-connected areas.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had in February 2019 approved the launch of the scheme with the objective of providing financial and water security.
- The government’s Budget for 2020-21 expanded the scope for the scheme with 20 lakh farmers to be provided assistance to install standalone solar pumps; another 15 lakh farmers to be given help to solarise their grid-connected pump sets.
- This will enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their barren lands and to sell it to the grid.
PM-KUSUM consists of three components and aims to add a solar capacity of 30.8 GW by 2022:
- Component-A: 10,000 MW of decentralised ground-mounted grid-connected renewable power plants.
- Component-B: Installation of two million standalone solar-powered agriculture pumps.
- Component-C: Solarisation of 1.5 million grid-connected solar-powered agriculture pumps.
Benefits of PM-KUSUM
- PM-KUSUM, supports the financial health of electricity distribution companies (Discoms) by reducing the burden of subsidy to the agriculture sector and helps them meet the RPO (Renewable Purchase Obligation) targets.
- PM-KUSUM promotes decentralised solar power production, and reduces transmission losses and a potential way to reduce their subsidy outlay towards irrigation.
- If farmers are able to sell surplus powers, they will be incentivised to save power and, in turn, it will mean the reasonable and efficient use of groundwater, and it will also increase their income.
Challenges in implementation of PM-KUSUM
- Due to the strict DCR (Domestic Content Requirements), the suppliers of solar equipment have to raise the domestic cell sourcing. However, there isn’t enough domestic cell manufacturing capacity.
- There has been the relative omission of small and marginal farmers, as the scheme focuses on pumps of 3 HP and higher capacities. It is due to this, solar pumps are not reaching the majority of farmers, as nearly 85% of them are small & marginal.
- Due to power subsidies, the recurring cost of electricity is so low that farmers keep on pumping water and the water table is going down.
- In a solar installation, it becomes a more difficult job to upgrade to higher capacity pumps in case the water table falls because one will have to add new solar panels which are expensive.