Staff Reporter –
Hundreds of villagers will see their home lit by electricity for the first time in their lives, thanks to an innovative scheme being implemented by a global company.
Western Union, the world’s leading global payment services company, will set aside up to INR 100 for remittances received in India between November 15 and November 30, 2015.
The donation of up to INR 100 would be subject to certain norms and conditions.
Western union Managing Director & Regional Vice-President (India & South Asia) Kiran Shetty said that up to ten villages are likely to be covered by the scheme.
According to him, people sending money to India through his company from Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America will have an opportunity to participate in the scheme.
Solar Panel energy
Through this campaign, Western Union will use the contribution to engage The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in erecting solar panels for each household in the targeted villages, with each household getting three solar connections, two for electricity and one for cooking.
“By providing solar lamps to these households, they will be able to celebrate the festival of lights and dispel darkness in their homes. This platform also ties into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s objective of ensuring that every village has power supply by the year 2022. The solar lamps will provide a sustainable option for electricity where kerosene lamps have been used for decades. We intend to spread the festive cheer to these villages and let them experience a bright Diwali too,” he said.
300 million in darkness
TERI Senior Director Dr I H Rehman said that about 300 million people in India have no access to electricity and that renewable energy is one way to bridge this gap.
“The Indian government is making aggressive moves to accelerate the country’s solar energy supply in regionals like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh who face a severe power deficit. We are happy to associate with Western Union and make electricity an accessible commodity in villages who have used biomass fuels extensively for light and cooking,” he said.
According to some estimates, only 69% of the population have access to electricity connections and the situation is even grimmer in the interior regions of the country.
In Bihar, 80% of households experience almost zero access to electricity.
Power to People
“Hence to implement the Government’s initiative (‘Power for All’) and to ensure that households in villages have light this Diwali, the Indian Diaspora now have an option to remit money to India and contribute to the success of this initiative,” Mr Rehman said.
Western Union Regional Director for Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Isles Tasko Alcevski said that the initiative to light up Indian villages is a part of Western Union’s global ‘WU Chain CSR Programme (‘Chain of Betters)’ aiming to move money for better and to celebrate things that moving money can achieve.
“With the movement of money this festive season, many villages will have their homes lit as a result of money being transferred across borders. We are guided by a purpose of moving money for better that drives every decision we make. Living our purpose means that we are leaders, innovators and builders of a shared vision and future for business and society – a future where money moves for a better world. Lighting up remote villages in India is one of the many ways Western Union together with its consumers can move money for better,” he said.