Impact On The Ground

Gaining access to electricity opens up greater opportunities for economic development in rural India, creating jobs and new industries, increasing productivity, improving access to education and learning, and engaging more communities in civic participation.
Stitching Together A Brighter Future

ESCO : OMC Power, Kamlapur

Rajni Shukla was struggling to make ends meet for her family on the meagre earnings of her husband. Meeting the growing needs of two young school-going children meant that she had to pick up odd sewing jobs from the women in her village. The announcement of a garment manufacturing unit in the neighbouring town of Kamlapur proved to be the chance that Rajni was looking for.

The garment manufacturing unit is a micro-enterprise led by a local entrepreneur Riyaz, which is incubated by Smart Power India and Sattva in the village of Kamlapur in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh. The unit uses a 3-phase electricity supply from a Smart Power mini-grid to supplement grid power to assure quality and duration of electricity supply needed to run the electric sewing machines.

Over 80 women, including Rajni, signed up for two-month long classes organized by Sattva to create a trained workforce for the garment unit. 50 of the 80 women trained are now employed at the unit to work in two shifts of four hours each to complete bulk manufacturing orders. The unit’s current production capacity is estimated to rise from 2000 units/month to 5000 units/month soon.

For the women of the neighbourhood, this garment manufacturing unit also represents a muchneeded steady source of income. Rajni is happy that she has learnt a new skill which can help her in the future too.

“What I used to sew in two hours can now be done in less than one. While sewing on my hand-cranked sewing machine, my hands and back would pain a lot. Working on the electric machine is easier and faster. I am happy that I now have a new skill. We need the money that I can make with this sewing job.”
The Rice-Hullers Of Gumla

ESCO : MLinda, Pasanga

The tribal village of Pasanga in Gumla, Jharkhand is home to 144 tribal households. Most families cultivate paddy on an average land holding of about 2 acres per household. Of the total annual paddy yield of around 576 tons per year, they consume 192 tons and the remaining is sold off to middlemen at rock-bottom prices of INR 9-10 per kilogram.

Five women of Pasanga decided to ensure that they are not shortchanged by middlemen anymore.

They organized themselves into a rice-hulling women’s self-help group in September 2016. With the help of the SPRD program, they acquired a rice huller. They began buying paddy (nearly 60 per cent of what was usually sold off to the middlemen) from the farmers at the market rate of INR10-11 per kilogram. The paddy was then hulled using power supplied from the mini-grid. Hulled rice fetches them twice the price of paddy, approximately INR20 per kilogram. The rice husk generated in the process became another stream of revenue for the women, as it is in high demand as cattle feed too.

The average monthly income for each member within the group is currently around INR3500-4000.

“We women are running machines for the first time to earn a livelihood. Seeing us, several other women from the village are coming forward to participate”, says Ghasni Devi.
Powering Entrepreneurial Aspirations

ESCO : Husk Power, Manjharia

For Raju Kumar Gupta, access to reliable electricity was the biggest hurdle to expanding his business. Raju runs a sweet shop in Piprakothi village, which is situated around 15kms from the town of Motihari in East Champaran, Bihar. His shop, situated by a national highway, had the potential to do brisk business if he could expand to stocking milk products, bottled water and cold beverages. However, unreliable electricity supply meant that the refrigerator he bought could not cool the products, often leading to wastage.

He reached out to alternative power suppliers too, including a local diesel generated power supplier. However, there were few solutions in sight to tackle poor voltage and limited hours of power supply.

A mini-grid set up by Husk Power in the neighbouring Manjhariya village helped Raju Gupta fulfil his business ambitions. He was among the first five customers to sign up for an electrical connection. And there has been no looking back for him since.

He says he has increased his turnover by almost 20 times now due to the assured availability of power. His shop has now become a hub for not just local villagers, but also for travelers on the busy highway. He recently added a coffee vending machine too, when he sensed a demand for it among his new clientele. Raju Gupta also undertakes big catering orders; big profits have helped him hire more employees too.

“I use Husk Power for all my critical business needs as it is reliable and offers a strong value for money proposition. I also use Husk Power at my newly constructed house so that my two school-going sons can study uninterruptedly.”
Aggregating profits: Ajay Yadav’s bulk milk chilling enterprise

Ajay Yadav’s entrepreneurial journey from a small-scale milk aggregator to a businessman running multiple bulk milk chillers in Uttar Pradesh illustrates how reliable energy access can transform businesses in rural India.

As a milk aggregator, Ajay's operations in Shivpura, Uttar Pradesh, involved aggregating milkproduced by dairy farmers in his neighborhood and then creating a supply chain for Parag milk cooperative, the largest milk cooperative in Uttar Pradesh. However, to improve his profits and that of dairy farmers working with him, he realized he had to increase the amount of milk collected. For that, he needed to scale-up operations, improve collection efficiency and maximize profits.

An ambitious entrepreneur, Ajay decided to set up a 1000-litre bulk milk chiller. This was a big challenge as the electricity supply in his village, Shivpurawas unreliable and prone to frequent interruptions. His bulk milk chiller was set up to operate on a diesel generator, but poor voltage and limited hours of supply meant that the chiller rarely functioned at optimal capacity. Over-reliance on the diesel genset also led to frequent breakdowns, which often ate up an entire month’s profits. The operational cost of using only diesel was also prohibitive. The answers to Ajay’s problem came in the form of a Tara Urja mini-grid that was set up in Shivpura in 2015.

Today, Ajay is a champion for mini-grid power. He is able to save more than INR100 an hour by replacing diesel with mini-grid power. Today, his bulk milk chillers help to aggregate over 600 litres ofmilk from more than 80 farmers in 30 villages on a daily basis. He also collects an additional 100 liters from smallermilk aggregators in the neighbourhood.

A liter of milk, which costs him INR 35-36, is sold to Parag at INR 37-39 with a margin of INR 2 per liter.Dairy farmers are also getting a higher price for the milk sold compared to the prevailing local price of INR 28-30/liter.

The expansion has helped him establish links with more milkcooperatives and major dairy companies collecting milk, including Parag and Namaste India.

Ajay's bulk milk chiller operations are no longer restricted to Shivpura. With Smart Power India's support, he has replicated his operations and set up another plant in Mathura Bazaar and hopes to have another one running in MaharajganjTarai soon.