Govt Closes Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) Phase-II amid Covid-19 Outbreak

In the wake of coronavirus outbreak across the country, the government has decided to close the second phase of its Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) effective from April 01, 2020.

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The move came after the government decided not to operate MPLADS for two years i.e. for 2020-2021 and 2021-22 and in this regard, a circular was issued by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) on April 08, 2020.

In line with this, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) further cleared that solar street lights for which sanction of providing funds from MPLADS have been issued prior to April 01, 2020, can only be installed under the scheme subject to confirmation from district authorities for the availability of MPLADS funds against these sanctions.

Earlier, the government extended phase-II of AJAY scheme for a period of one year till March 31, 2021, after subdued progress in the installation of solar street lights.

The time period was extended after the instructions issued by the Finance Ministry’s Expenditure Department on continuation and extension of public-funded ongoing schemes. Additionally, the President of India also provided his accord for the continuation of the scheme.

Initially, the AJAY scheme was launched by MNRE on December 18, 2018, for a period of one year, and Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) was designated as the nodal agency implementing the scheme.

It was notified by the Ministry that post extension, the vendors already empanelled by EESL for the scheme will continue to install solar street lights against the sanction for MPLAD funds issued or to be issued by the respective DMs till March 31, 2020.

However, for sanctions issued by DMs after March 31, 2020, EESL has to issue a fresh tender for the empanelment of vendors for solar street lights installation.

The phase-II of AJAY will cover the installation of 3,04,500 solar street lights (SSLs) of 12 W capacity and 75 percent of the cost will come through the MNRE budget and rest 25 percent will be provided from MPLAD funds.

The total cost for implementation of Phase-II budgeted Rs 761 crore out of which Rs 571 crore was MNRE’s share and Rs 190 crore was MPLAD funds.

However, the progress of the implementation of the scheme was quite slow because as on April 24, 2020, the total solar LED street lights installed stood at 1,35,677 which is approx. 44.5 percent of the aggregate numbers to be installed.

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Manu Tayal

Manu Tayal

Manu is an Associate Editor at Saur Energy International where she writes and edits clean & green energy news, featured articles and interview industry veterans with a special focus on solar, wind and financial segments.

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