Last month, the Cabinet cleared a new solar policy which includes a feature to give 100% subsidy to farmers belonging to the ultra-marginalised Musahar and Vantangiya communities and from Scheduled Tribes for setting up solar power pumps for running tubewells and other agricultural purposes. Farmers not belonging to such communities will be given a 90% subsidy.
Under the PM Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyan Yojana, introduced to ensure energy security for farmers and to increase the country’s share of power sourced from non-fossil fuels, the Centre provides 30% subsidy to farmers to solarise their grid connected agricultural pumps. The state has therefore increased its share of subsidy significantly to render the service completely free for farmers belonging to these marginalised and forest-dwelling communities who suffer from inconsistent supply of electricity which eventually impacts their livelihood.
More recently, the Cabinet passed the CM Weaver Solar Energy Scheme, under which the state will bear 75% of the cost of a solar power plant installed to run a powerloom for weavers belonging to scheduled castes and tribes.
The state has about 250,000 powerlooms operational through which 550,000 weavers earn their livelihood. The scheme will benefit 50,000 weavers while creating 75,000 direct and indirect jobs, the government said. The scheme will be operational for the next five years, after which it will be reviewed on the basis of the impact it created on the lives of the weavers, and accordingly the CM will take a call on it.
“The steps will also help create awareness regarding solar power among the farmers and weavers. Adoption of solar power by farmers will also reduce power consumption in agricultural feeders in rural areas which will result in significant savings for the government,” Mahesh Gupta, additional chief secretary, Department of Additional Sources of Energy in UP, told ET.
Under the new solar policy of the state, the government aims to generate 22,000 MW of solar power over the next five years.
Soon after taking over in 2017, chief minister Yogi Adityanath granted 18 Vantangiya settlements the status of revenue villages. Later, the government decided to provide houses under the CM Aawas Yojana to those households belonging to Musahar and Vantangiya, Kol, Tharu and Sahariya communities as well as Nat and Chero tribes, who were left out under the PM Awas Yojana, as part of the CM’s special focus on these ultra-marginalised tribes.