In a bid to sharpen the focus of its rural energy component,
the Ministry of Nonconventional Energy Sources (MNES) has initiated a 4-month study from January 1995 to assess the impact of the Integrated Rural Energy Planning (IREP) Programme at the grassroots level. The new target for the current year is to add another 100 blocks to the 452 which have already been covered.
The National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Delhi, and the Operations Research Group (ORG), Baroda, will conduct an impact evaluation of the IREP in 6 states each.
IREP was begun as an exercise in conceptual planning by the Planning Commission. It was transferred to the MNES in July 1993, as it failed to build linkages with executing agencies. G V Ramakrishna, Planning Commission Member (Energy), explains that the merger was necessary to remove the gap that existed between "IREP, which lists out energy demands and available sources, and MNES, which suggests alternative sources."
The project, however, is starved of funds, and so far it has received just a fraction of its total allocation. Ramakrishna says, "To actualise the IREP planning, we'll need to build it into the rural credit plan that will bring in much needed financial support."