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PM-KUSUM scheme: The growth engine of Rural India.

PM-KUSUM is a scheme launched by the Government of India in 2019 to ensure energy security for farmers in India.

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Discover how the PM-KUSUM scheme is transforming rural India by providing farmers with solar-powered irrigation systems and boosting the growth of the agricultural sector. Learn about the benefits of this innovative program and its impact on the lives of rural communities.

Introduction:
The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) is a transformative scheme launched by the Government of India to boost the rural economy and promote sustainable agriculture practices. With its emphasis on renewable energy and farmer empowerment, PM-KUSUM has the potential to become the growth engine of rural India. In this post, we will delve into the key features of the scheme and explore the reasons behind its significance.

Overview of PM-KUSUM:
PM-KUSUM (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) is a scheme launched by the Government of India in 2019 to ensure energy security for farmers in India, along with honouring India’s commitment to increase the share of installed capacity of electric power from non-fossil-fuel sources to 40% by 2030 as part of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The scheme aims to add a solar capacity of 30,800 MW by 2022 with total central financial support of Rs. 34,422 Crore including service charges to the implementing agencies. The components of the scheme are as follows:

The scheme consists of three components:
Component-A: For Setting up 10,000 MW of Decentralized Grid Connected Renewable Energy Power Plants on barren land. Under this component, renewable energy-based power plants (REPP) of capacity 500 kW to 2 MW will be set up by individual farmers/groups of farmers/ cooperatives/ panchayats/ Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO)/Water User associations (WUA) on barren/fallow land. These power plants can also be installed on cultivable land on stilts where crops can also be grown below the solar panels. The renewable energy power project will be installed within a five km radius of the sub-stations in order to avoid the high cost of sub-transmission lines and to reduce transmission losses. The power generated will be purchased by local DISCOM at a pre-fixed tariff. DISCOMs will be eligible to get a Procurement Based Incentive (PBI) @ 40 paise/kWh or Rs. 6.60 lakhs/MW/year, whichever is less, for the first five years by MNRE for buying the power from farmers/developers.

Component-B: For Installation of 17.50 Lakh stand-alone solar agriculture pumps. Under this Component, individual farmers will be supported to install standalone solar Agriculture pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP for replacement of existing diesel Agriculture pumps / irrigation systems in off-grid areas, where grid supply is not available. Pumps of capacity higher than 7.5 HP can also be installed, however, the financial support will be limited to 7.5 HP capacity. Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of 30% of the benchmark cost or the tender cost, whichever is lower, will be provided by MNRE. State Government subsidy will be at least 30%, and the remaining at most 40% will be provided by the farmer. Bank finance can be availed by the farmer so that the farmer has to initially pay only 10% of the cost and the remaining up to 30% of the cost as a loan.

Component-C: For Solarisation of 10 Lakh Grid Connected Agriculture Pumps. Under this Component, individual farmers having grid-connected agriculture pumps will be supported to solarise pumps. The farmer will be able to use the generated solar power to meet the irrigation needs and the excess solar power will be sold to DISCOMs at a pre-fixed tariff. CFA of 30% of the benchmark cost or the tender cost, whichever is lower, will be provided by MNRE. State Government subsidy will be at least 30%, and the remaining at most 40% will be provided by the farmer.

Key Features and Benefits of PM-KUSUM:

  1. Income Generation: By enabling farmers to generate solar power and sell the surplus to the grid, PM-KUSUM provides an additional source of income, making farming a more economically viable profession. This income diversification reduces the risks associated with traditional agricultural practices.
  • Cost Reduction: The scheme facilitates the installation of solar-powered pumps, which significantly reduces the dependence on diesel or electric pumps. This leads to a substantial reduction in the energy costs incurred by farmers, making irrigation more affordable and sustainable.
  • Energy Security: PM-KUSUM ensures an uninterrupted water supply for irrigation by promoting the use of solar-powered pumps. This reduces the reliance on erratic grid electricity supply or expensive diesel, enhancing energy security for farmers and improving agricultural productivity.
  • Environmental Sustainability: By encouraging the use of solar energy, PM-KUSUM contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. The scheme promotes clean and renewable energy, leading to a greener and healthier environment for rural communities.
  • Job Creation: The implementation of PM-KUSUM generates employment opportunities in the form of manufacturing, installation, operation, and maintenance of solar pumps and plants. This stimulates local economies and empowers rural youth with skill development and entrepreneurship.
  • Reduced Subsidy Burden: With the adoption of solar energy, the demand for subsidized electricity decreases, easing the financial burden on the government and the power distribution companies. The funds saved can be utilized for other developmental initiatives.

Growth Engine of Rural India:

PM-KUSUM has the potential to become the growth engine of rural India due to the following reasons

  1. Agricultural Transformation: By promoting sustainable irrigation practices, PM-KUSUM enhances agricultural productivity, leading to increased crop yields. This, in turn, boosts farmers’ income and drives rural prosperity.
  2. Income and Wealth Creation: The scheme enables farmers to generate surplus income through the sale of solar power, reducing their dependence solely on agricultural income. This additional income can be invested in other rural businesses, education, healthcare, and improving the overall standard of living.
  3. Technological Advancement: The adoption of solar-powered pumps and plants under PM-KUSUM introduces farmers to modern technology and renewable energy solutions. This facilitates the transition to a more technologically advanced and environmentally conscious agricultural sector, aligning with the government’s vision of a Digital India and a Clean Energy Revolution.
  4. Rural Electrification: PM-KUSUM ensures reliable access to electricity for farmers, thereby contributing to rural electrification goals. It bridges the electricity divide between urban and rural areas, providing crucial infrastructure for economic development and improving the quality of life in rural communities.
  5. Sustainable Development: PM-KUSUM promotes sustainable agricultural practices, reducing the carbon footprint and ecological impact of traditional farming methods. It aligns with the global push for sustainable development goals and positions India as a leader in the renewable energy sector.

Conclusion:
PM-KUSUM, with its focus on renewable energy, farmer empowerment, and sustainable agriculture practices, has the potential to be the growth engine of rural India. By providing additional income, reducing energy costs, ensuring energy security, and promoting environmental sustainability, the scheme uplifts the lives of farmers and paves the way for a prosperous rural economy. The successful implementation and expansion of PM-KUSUM can unlock the immense potential of India’s agricultural sector and contribute to the nation’s overall development.

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