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Finance & Innovation

Every Village in India Now Has Electricity

It’s lit. Every village on India’s map is now also on its power grid, the government announced on Sunday.

Leisang, a remote village in the state of Manipur was added to the power grid on Saturday and was the last village in the country to be connected to electricity, the BBC reported.

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While Modi's critics have pointed out that 97% of country's villages were already connected to the power grid, ensuring that the entire country has access to electricity by connecting the approximately remaining 18,000 villages is still major accomplishment. However, experts say it may be too soon to celebrate.

To be considered “electrified,” the Indian government requires that all public buildings in a village have electricity, but just 10% of its households need to have access to electricity, meaning that millions are still without power.

According to government data, 100% of households have electricity in just six of India’s 29 states.

Connecting people to the power grid is key to economic development and can help break the poverty cycle, experts say. Electricity can dramatically increase people’s work productivity — powering farmers’ water pumps and tailors’ sewing machines — and can also replace things like gasoline lamps, which produce emissions that are both harmful to the environment and people.

But having electricity can only have a significant impact if it’s reliable, and in that regard, India still has a ways to go, Abhishek Jain, a senior researcher at the Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment & Water, told CNN.

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"It doesn't change the material lives on the ground significantly," Jain said. "It doesn't mean that households are connected, [and] just having the connection, doesn't mean you're getting a good supply."

Poor infrastructure and corruption are factors that still hinder the government’s ability to provide reliable electricity across the country. But the milestone of connecting every village to the power grid is still a major one.

The government of India hopes to take that accomplishment a step further by the end of this year, connecting every household in the country to the power grid.

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