PM KUSUM Scheme to cover 20 lakh farmers this year through Solar Pump Yojana

Aiming to reach the target of doubling farmer’s income by 2022, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) scheme will be expanded to cover 20 lakh farmers across the nation.

The Solar Pump Yojana which promises to fulfill the irrigation and water problems by providing a 60% subsidy to the farmer for setting up pump sets and tube wells was initially intended to cover 17.5 lakh farmers. Farmers will now have to spend only 10% of the total expenditure.

RK Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy said, “The new KUSUM is an expansion of the earlier scheme…It will not require any fresh approvals from the Cabinet until the existing targets are not met”.

As per reports, it took the Centre over a year to get the Cabinet’s approval for the same primarily because of the massive budgetary support required. It was initially proposed that this Rs.1.44 lakh crore scheme would solarise every agricultural pump and replace all the grid-connected pumps with solar power over 10 years.

Under the scheme, the Centre is going to provide Rs. 10,000 crore for four years under the Solar Pump Yojana approved by the Cabinet. As per reports, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will borrow Rs. 6,000 crore for the first phase (lasting for a year) to fund the Centre’s contribution and IREDA Rs. 15,000 crore for the second phase that will last for a year.

The Union Budget 2020 has also decided to expand the ambit of the KUSUM scheme where it will now replace 15 lakh grid-connected pumps with solar pumps. “We shall also help another 15 lakh farmers solarise their grid-connected pump sets. In addition, a scheme to enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their barren land and sell it to the grid will be operationalized,” Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman said during her Budget speech. “This is a major step forward in which farmers with barren land will be helped to set up solar power projects on their land, sell the power to the grid and make a living,” she added.

On a per pump basis, the Centre will subsidize 30 per cent of the cost, the States would do the same, and 30 per cent of the amount will be offered a loan.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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