Nagaland: Smart Power India plans to install mini-grids in 1000 villages
Round table discussion hosted by Smart Power India, Mithun Rural Development Foundation and NABARD in Dimapur

Guwahati: Smart Power India (SPI), a subsidiary of the Rockefeller Foundation, is mulling to install mini-grids in 1000 villages in Nagaland.

A round-table discussion was hosted in Dimapur on Thursday by Smart Power India in association with the Government of Nagaland, GIZ, Mithun Rural Development Foundation (MRDF), and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

The roundtable was held to analyse the learnings from the last nine months of operation, micro-enterprise development and powering public infrastructure following the installation of solar mini-grids in Mon district of Nagaland in February this year, and to derive lessons for scaling the project to 1000 villages of Nagaland.

The event was attended by Vijay Bhaskar, managing director, Mithun Rural Development Foundation (MRDF); Tiakala Ao, general manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD); Anamika Dutta, World Resources India (WRI); Nokpai Konyak, chairman, Konyak Union Village Council, Mon District; Jianthai Lung, North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFi) and other dignitaries.

The first 3 mini-grids in Northeast India were set up in Nagaland’s Mon district in the villages of Chenwetnyu, Longkei and Totok Chinga by the Mithun Rural Development Foundation (MRDF) in collaboration with Smart Power India (SPI) and District Administration of Mon.

Round table discussion hosted by Smart Power India, Mithun Rural Development Foundation and NABARD in Dimapur

Ajit Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Mon District, said, “We are happy that organisations such as Smart Power India, GIZ, NABARD and WRI are supporting the project. Now, electricity is available 24×7 in the three mini-grid villages and is used to power livelihoods, streetlights, health centres, schools and homes. In the last 9 months, over 70 new micro-businesses based on agri-processing, non-timber forest produce processing, biofloc fisheries, livestock feed, carpentry, metal works and handicrafts have been incubated. I hope that we all will find a way forward to scale up the project across Mon district and the state of Nagaland.”

Addressing the roundtableSatya Prakash Choubey, Director-Demand & Enterprise Development, Smart Power India, said, “We are pleased to see that the installation of mini-grids in Mon district has helped boost the socio-economic status of the district and the individuals. The pilot project in the villages of Chenwetnyu, Longkei and Totok Chinga was the first time we undertook a project with MRDF to expand our footprint of mini-grids in Northeast India, and we are happy that this programme has met its objective of providing livelihoods and increasing the earning potential of villages in the Mon district.”

Elaborating further on the programme, Vijay Bhaskar of Mithun Rural Development Foundation (MRDF) said, “It is good to see the result of this pilot; we were sponsoring a group of beneficiaries during the pilot and giving them the exposure to biofloc and fish farming. We aimed to provide training and enable the youth of the community to set up micro-enterprises and encourage reverse migration leading to an economic boost. Since we are discussing scaling the project to 1000 villages, we aim to support more beneficiaries in Nagaland.”

The objective of this programme is to supplement and strengthen the supply of electricity in remote villages to enable microenterprises to thrive, new businesses to be set up, improve public infrastructure (streetlights, schools and health centres), trigger economic growth and increase personal incomes in the villages.

While speaking at the roundtable, Tiakala Ao, general manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), highlighted the importance of financing the productive use of energy towards developing rural livelihoods and increasing local incomes.

World Resource Institute (WRI) India performed a baseline study of the three villages. The community has received the three mini-grid pilots well and over 70 micro-businesses have bloomed in the last six months with micro-enterprise development support from NABARD, GIZ, SPI and Rang De.

The installation of these pilot mini-grids in Mon aims to enable last-mile clean energy access, improve livelihoods, support women entrepreneurs, and increase the state’s GDP while reducing GHG emissions.

Expanding mini-grids in the other villages of Nagaland will bring more opportunities for the state.

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