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The Determinants of Rural Electrification in Bihar, India

Discussion Papers


by ODA Hisaya, TSUJITA Yuko
September 2010


This paper explores intra-state disparity in access to electricity and examines the determinants of electrification at the village level in Bihar, one of the underdeveloped states in India. Our field survey of 80 villages in 5 districts conducted in 2008-09 found that 48 villages (60%) are electrified when using the definition of electrification that a village is electrified if any one household in the village is connected to electricity. The degrees of “electrification” in terms of the proportion of household connection and available hours of electricity remain by and large low, and at the same time differ across districts, villages and seasons. In the processes of electrification, approximately 40% of villages have been electrified in recent years. Based on the basic findings of the survey, this paper examines the electrification processes and how it has changed in recent years. The econometric analyses demonstrate that location is the most important determinant of a village’s electricity connection. Another important finding is that with the rapid progress of rural electrificationunder the recent government programme and the tendency to connect the villages which are easily accessible, the collective bargaining power of the village, which used to significantly affect the process of electrification, has lost influence. This adversely affects remote villages. In order to extend electricity supplies to remote and geographically disadvantaged villages, the government needs to consider seriously other options for sustainable electricity supply, such as decentralized distribution of electricity rather than the conventional connection through the national/local grids.

Keywords: Rural electrification, Bihar, India
JEL classification: H41, O20, Q40,

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