India’s electricity shortage from March 1 to March 30 was
worse since October 2021. A sudden rise in power demand in March has forced
India to reduce coal supplies to the non-power sector and shelve its plans for
some fuel auctions for utilities without supply deals due to a slump in
inventories, reported Reuters.

Several northern states suffered hours-long power cuts in
October when a crushing coal shortage caused the worst electricity deficit in
almost five years.

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Indian Government runs the SAUBHAGYA scheme, which is one
of the world’s biggest universal electrification initiatives, with
collaborative efforts of the Centre and states. It is a concurrent program to
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana‟ (DDUGJY).

Under SAUBHAGYA, DISCOMs organize camps in villages so
that application forms can be filled out on-site, including the issuance of
electricity connections to households.

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As of March 31, 2021, nearly 2.82 crore households have
been electrified since the launch of the scheme. As of March 2019, 2.63 crore
rural and urban households had been provided with electricity connections in a
record time of 18 months.

Shortages in Jharkhand and Uttarakhand surpassed those of
October, according to the latest data.

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Gujarat, one of the most industrialized states, has
ordered a staggered shutdown of “non-continuous process” industries in key
cities next week.

According to a Reuters report, the move was due to power
shortages and to facilitate continuous power supply to farmers. A similar
strategy was last used in 2010.

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Andhra Pradesh and Goa suffered several times larger
deficits in March than in October.

According to data from federal grid regulator POSOCO, the
deficit in March was 574 million kilowatt-hours, a measure that multiplies
power level by duration.

That accounted for 0.5% of overall demand for the period
or 50% of the deficit of 1% in October.

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Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Bihar suffered widespread
outages in October, accounting for most of the deficit in March, but shortages
were lower.