Villagers in Anandpur district in Uttar Pradesh are one happy lot. Reason? The place is one beneficiary of an ambitious plan which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in his Independence Day speech last August.
Sixty year-old Indian villager Ram Kishore sits beneath a newly installed electricity meter at his home in the village of Anandpur in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Pic/AFP
The Modi government plans to bring electricity to 18,452 Indian villages.
Government figures released last year showed that more than 300 million people in India -- the world's fastest-growing major economy -- still had no access to electricity.
A woman cooks food by candlelight in her home in the village of Anandpur. Pic/AFP
Speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi, PM Modi said those villagers had been 'deprived of the rays of development,' promising to finish the job within 1,000 days and saying the country was 'not ready to wait for 10 years'. It has not been an easy task.
A youth charges a cellular telephone at his home. Pic/AFP
Nonetheless, since Modi launched the scheme, nearly 11,000 villages have been connected to the grid.
Villager uses a handpump to get water from a well as others look on. Pic/AFP
Only 18 of the 25 households in Anandpur agreed to get connected and have the free electricity metre installed -- the other seven were unsure they could afford the monthly bill of around 100-150 rupees.