Context: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) recently issued guidelines to roll out the ₹34,422-crore PM-KUSUM scheme.
Prelims: Indian Polity and Governance– Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
Mains: GS II- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Concerned ministry: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
Central and state governments are trying and adopting every possible way to fulfill Prime Minister Modi’s vision of doubling farmer’s income by 2022. Combined with this, the government has also set a target of 100 GW of solar energy to be achieved by December 2022. With this vision, the government has recently started the Farmer Energy Security and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM).
- The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme has a target to set up 25,750 megawatts (MW) solar capacity by 2022 to power irrigation pumps.
- The scheme comprises of three components:
- setting up of 10,000 MW of decentralized ground / stilt-mounted grid-connected solar or other renewable energy-based power plants.
- installation of 17.5 lakh standalone solar agriculture pumps.
- solarisation of 10 lakh grid-connected solar agriculture pumps.
- The scheme will open a stable and continuous source of income to the rural landowners for a period of 25 years by utilization of their dry/uncultivable land.
- Farmers will have an option to sell additional power to the grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
- Further, in case cultivated fields are chosen for setting up solar power projects, the farmers could continue to grow crops as the solar panels are to be set up above a minimum height.
- It will help in de-dieselizing the agriculture sector as India had about 30 million farm pumps that include 10 million pumps running on diesel.
- Tube wells and existing pumps of the government will be converted to run on solar power.
- The state electricity distribution companies, also called, DISCOMS will buy the additional solar power produced by the farmers on barren lands.
- DISCOMS will get sops to buy this electricity.
- It comes with the central financial support of close to Rs 34,000 crore.
- Farmers will get a subsidy of 60% on solar pumps. It shall be deposited to their bank accounts directly.
- This subsidy is going to be shared by the central and the state governments. 30% of the cost will be obtained as a bank loan.
- Hence, only the rest 10% will have to be borne by the farmers themselves.
How will the scheme benefit?
- The Kusum scheme can benefit the farmers in two ways:
- They will get free electricity for irrigation and
- They will also get additional income by selling surplus power.
- The scheme will promote decentralized solar power production, reduced transmission losses of discoms as well as provide support to improve the financial health of DISCOMs by reducing subsidy burden to the agriculture sector.
- It will provide a fillip to the emerging green economy in India.
- It will also promote energy efficiency and water conservation and provide water security to farmers.