Renewable Energy in Jhabua

Nitin Dhakad


This report provides information on the scope of implementing solar and bio-energy to provide power for meeting domestic as well as agricultural requirements of the people of Dharampuri in the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh. It has been proved through survey that devices such as Solar Water Purifier and Bio-Lamp desk can better meet requirements of the rural population.


Jhabua is a tribal district of Madhya Pradesh where development has been at very slower pace despite all the efforts of several government and non-government bodies. The rural areas of this district still face problem in accessing basic necessities of water, electricity, employment and education. The motive of the project was to study energy problem and to work out solution using renewable sources of energy. The study was conducted in the Dharampuri village under the aegis of Shivganga (a non-government organization based in Jhabua). The survey was conducted to analyze availability of resources mainly electricity, water, cattle, land and human resources. Participation of various government and non-government bodies was also observed by meeting with officials of concerned authorities. Based on these observations, and survey analysis, solutions of the energy and water problem using solar and bio-energy potentials were designed.

Survey Results

There are 70 homes in Dharampuri and 53 out of them are surveyed:


  • Equipment

    • # of bulbs = 58 and 1 CFL
    • # of fans = 13
    • # of water motors = 26 (mostly 3 HP & 5HP)

There is mostly one 100 W bulb per house lighted outside the home, dark inside the house. They are still not using energy efficient bulbs due to lack of awareness and traditional practices. Very less number of families have fans. Almost half of them have water motors and these motors are rented by them to other people also. There are 30 motors in the village (survey results) that will irrigate total land. Therefore, one motor will work for approximately 8 hrs per day in Kharif season and 7 Hrs per day in Rabi season.

Water pump = 5HP x 750W x 8Hrs = 3KWHr (1HP = 750W)

Light Bulb = 100 W x 8Hrs = 0.8KWHr

Electric fan = 80W x 8Hrs = 0.64KWHr

Total energy requirement = 4.44KWHr

This is required per farmer. For the entire village of 70 farmers:

  • For 30 Electric Motors = 30 x 3 KWHr = 90KWHr
  • For 70 Home Lightings = 70 x 0.8 KWHr = 56KWHr
  • For 70 Ceiling Fans = 70 x 0.64 KWHr = 44.8 KWHr

Total Energy = 2MW (approximately)

All these calculations are done based on the assumption that there is enough water availability.

Electricity Availability

Electricity was accessible to almost all of them they mainly have these two arrangements for accessing them.

  1. Hooking two wires
  2. Hooking one wire and then applying gadget and then earthing the other end.

In one case there was electricity available but the consumer didn’t put wires so as not to pay bills unlike others and said uses kerosene for lighting the lamp.

In other cases, there was no electricity available as the distribution point transformer malfunctioned but they too hooked the line passing through river side far from home.

Overall observation shows that there was electricity available but in order to avoid billing, people are not having proper connections. But for that illegal connection also, they pay about Rs.1000 per year or it is said as the rent to connect a water pump during irrigation season.

Drinking Water Source

  1. 40 families use government hand pump
  2. 8 families dig on river bed for drinking water
  3. 1 family use well water to drink
  4. Many families when unable to get hand pump water go to Shivganga Gurukul Tubewell.

There is no water purification before consumption.  A lot of water borne diseases happen in the region and most of the time a good treatment is not affordable. This problem can be overcome by using Solar Water Purifier developed by Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).


According to the survey, there are 65 bulls, 24 cows, 66 goats,8 buffaloes, 13 calves. Huge amounts of dung generated from these animals and the crop waste can be used as a bio-fuel for the Bio-Lamp Desk.

Details of Solar Water Purifier and Bio-Lamp Desk are given in following sections. Usage of these alternative sources of energy can reduce the load on domestic lines; the electricity thus saved can be used for irrigation purposes.

Solar Water Purifier

This was developed by an Indian scientist, Dr. Anil Rajvanshi at the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) from Phaltan, Maharashtra. The technology uses cotton cloth, glass pipes and sunlight. According to Dr. Rajvanshi, the water purifier can both filter the water and kill germs by heating it to 60oC for 15 minutes at a low cost using solar energy. The equipment consists of four tubular solar water heaters attached to a manifold. The unclean water, which is filtered by the cotton cloth, is filled in the Solar Water Purifier and is later heated to make it potable. Unlike other reverse osmosis based water filters, this technology, besides being cheap also doesn’t require any maintenance because of its clogging-free feature.

Bio-Lamp Desk

A lamp was designed based on oxidation-reduction reactions on the metals generating electricity with cow dung as the electrolyte. This was given a shape of desk lamp which can be utilized for various purposes such as dinner table for one person, desk can be used as a platform for domestic purpose of chopping vegetables or preparing ‘chapattis’ on it etc. The raw materials are easily available. This concept can also be used to design a bio-battery charger for mobiles. In the experiment performed a 2.5 V LED was lighted for 10 Hrs. Hence more improved process can light an LED upto 12V. For higher power, the systems can be scaled and electricity can be generated using Bio-gas (Methane).


From the above discussion, following conclusions can be drawn:

  • The problems concerned with electricity can be overcome by educating the farmers about the possible drawbacks associated with providing wrong information about the pump-sets as well as with power thefts.
  • Creating awareness among the villagers about the vast availability of natural resources for producing energy in an eco-friendly manner reduces their dependence on conventional power sources.
  • Devices designed based on alternative sources of energy such as solar and biomass can better meet the energy- requirements of the rural population when developed in full-scale.


Nitin Dhakahd is a final year undergraduate student at IIT Roorkee. He performed an energy audit for this report in 2015.


Skill Development in Tribal Rajasthan

Kapil Surve


Sahariyas are a tribe residing in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Many of them earn their living by working in someone else’s field, a job known as ‘Hali’. Some also work for the Government Construction programmes on daily wage basis. They normally live at a distance from the city’s central region.

Shahbad, one of the tehsil city of the Baran district of Rajasthan is located at a distance of 140km from Kota and is located on the border between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The city has good transportation facilities due to its location on the side of National Highway 76.

The skill development programme was implemented by the Indian Institute of Rural Development (IIRD), an NGO operating inspired from Nanaji Deshmukh, based on whose ideas many development activities are being carried out in the Chitrakoot region of Madhya Pradesh. IIRD has taken inspiration from the methodology applied in Chitrakoot and started work on large scale in Rajasthan. It operates with the help of Samaj Shilipi Dampatti (SSD) who are active in the developmental activities of villages with the Sahariya tribe in dominating number.

Some of the problems faced by the Sahariya tribe are:

  • Non-functional government aid: The government aid provided in the form of free supply of basic commodities, has led to inactiveness among the people belonging to this tribe
  • Alcohol and other addictions: People here are addicted to alcohol and Vimal (a tobacco product) from the teenage itself because of early marriage. Marriage turned out to be a license for the alcohol consumption. Due to this reason, the Sahariya tribe has a bad reputation across Rajasthan.

SSDs are playing major role in inspiring and educating them so as to improve their lifestyle. But the Sahariyas donot have any concern to the issues raised by SSDs. The inactiveness spread across the tribe has led to improper utilization of crops given by the IIRD resulting in wastage of money for the later.

People belonging to the Sahariya tribe are trained in various vocations such as ladies tailoring, mechanic, horticulture, driving electrician and sports-training. In some cases, necessary financial aid was also provided to them to stand on their own feet. Possibilities of flourishment of these vocations in relation with the geographic conditions was also studied.

In a brain-storming session with some Sahariya youngsters, we came up with some innovative ways to earn a decent living. They include – foreign cuisine eateries, career agency, advanced dairy and young sports club & gymnasium.

Present work is based on the successful implementation of the model established by the late Nanaji Deshmukh in Chitrakoot. For any social work to be carried out in this regard, it is recommended to have a close bond with the tribal people by living along with them and conducting informative sessions with them, thereby, suggesting them innovative improvements for the betterment in their lifestyle.

Kapil is a final year undergraduate student at IIT Bombay. He lived among Sahariya people for two months and worked on skill development initiatives.


Digital Classroom: experiences from ground

Chaitanya from Vision India Foundation worked with the Andhra Pradesh Government for implementing a pilot project on Digital Classrooms. The summary below shows his experiences about dealing with such projects.


  • Assess the impact of technological interventions (Digital content and tablet-based learning) on learning outcomes, and
  • Assess the challenges in scaling up the project


  • 3 schools in Anantapur District in Andhra Pradesh were chosen to run a pilot
  • The 3 English-medium schools selected for the pilot were:
    • AP Model School, Garladinne – Government spent close to 3 crores of rupees to set up the school. Infrastructure wise, model schools are conceived to stand on par with well-established private schools. But the usual rant of the teachers is that the students are selected on a lottery basis resulting in a class having students who can’t even read alphabet.
    • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV), Kurugunta – Anantapur district has over 60 KGBV schools of which 5 have English as the medium of instruction.
    • AP Residential School of Excellence, Kodigenahalli – First government residential school in the country. The present district collector, SP and other people holding high positions studied in this school.
  • Tata Edge is roped in to provide digital content to 6th (Science), 7th (Social) and 8th (Maths) in each of these schools
  • 40 Tablets were provided to students of one school
  • Digital Content as a teaching aid by Tata Edge. Digital content mapped to SCERT has been deployed on local servers across 6th/7th/8th Digital Content includes multimedia content such as Audio/Videos, Simulations and games
  • Tablets provided by Microsoft with Edvelop, a tablet based education platform that will enable teachers to schedule sessions, track assessment and assignments data real-time by students


  • Tata Edge – Helps teachers deliver quality instruction by introducing interactive multimedia. Teachers can complement their traditional blackboard based teaching with creative illustrations provided by Tata Edge. The content prepared by Tata Edge is synchronized with the textbooks of SCERT. In effect, students are exposed to an effective blend of traditional and technology-based teaching thereby enhancing their comprehension. Conducted teacher training sessions on how to use their platform
  • Microsoft – Provided 41 tablets which have pre-installed Office365 for teachers & students to collaborate. Teachers to be trained for 6 hours through Microsoft Tablet Academy
  • Edutor – Tablet based education platform that will enable teachers to conduct quizzes and track students’ performance real-time.
  • DEO Office – Provides infrastructure support and support the pilot with lesson plan and design of daily quizzes
  • Program Management – One person each is placed at AP Model School and KGBV, who help teachers with technology and other requirements. There’s a Program manager who coordinates with all the stakeholders and run the on-ground operations.


  • Close to 15 percentage-points improvement is recorded for in these 2 schools when the performance in these assessments is compared against their half-yearly marks.
  • Children have shown relatively greater improvement in Social Science and Science.
  • Attendance has improved by 4 percentage points.

Lessons Learnt

Lessons are learnt through dealings with practical problems faced during a task. During the Anantapur pilot, many a problem was faced by the implementers, particularly in the infrastructure and human resource domains.


“Infrastructure is the biggest hurdle in the entire project. For the project to take off, the schools need constant internet connectivity. But, most of the government schools are located away from the possibility of an internet connection.”

  1. To have uninterrupted and smooth internet connection for 40 tablets, the minimum speed required is 4 MBPS (can be provided by BSNL Broadband).
  2. The school in Garladinne faced a peculiar problem. Since the school is on the other side of the Railway track, BSNL needed the permission of the Railway division to lay a cable underneath the track. As the railway division takes a long time to grant permission, the implementers decided against it.
  3. In KGBV School, BSNL would charge 89000 INR per year to set up internet. Also, no private player came forward as the schools are located in interior areas and ROI is way too low.
    • Lesson Learnt: Economies of scale are almost always some of the most decisive factors in corporate decision-making. It may be assumed that, probably, the private players would have evinced interest had the number of schools been higher than it is at the moment. This throws open the challenge and the possibility of increasing school concentration within a given area, for pooling of logistics and resources.
  4. Importance of electrical power cannot be emphasized more. All the projectors and computers need constant electricity. This is a far-fetched possibility for the schools in rural areas. The problem is compounded when there is no scheduled power cut. If it follows a schedule, then the planning of the usage of Tata Edge can be planned accordingly.
    • Lesson Learnt: The temporal stability (and hence, predictability) of a systemic, technical problem is indispensable to deal with that problem. Power failure is one such problem. The concerned Ministry and department should take necessary steps to arrest (or, at least control) this problem. Alternative sources can be sought in the form of solar panels and consequent generation of electrical energy, at least in those areas receiving the threshold level of solar energy. A cost-effective solution is to have a small inverter in place just for the room (as opposed to entire school) where Tata Edge is deployed so that the projector and the computer run without a break.

Human Resources:

  • Teacher
  1. The biggest challenge a teacher faces is adapting her/himself to the technological (and methodological) intervention; that is, seamlessly complementing the traditional blackboard teaching with digital content.
    • Lesson Learnt: Teachers are trained for only two days on the Tata Edge applications prior to using it in the classroom. It may be argued that more training time and prior hands-on experience is necessary for teachers. The trainers should focus not only on making the teacher adaptable to the technology, but also on making the technology adaptable to the teacher.
  2. Teachers were initially insecure about tablets as low performance of the students in these would question their efficiency.
    • Lesson Learnt: To eliminate such feelings of insecurity, technology has to be presented and used as an integral and organic component of education (the classroom experience). Hence, performance of students while using tablets and performance of students while using books alone must not be seen as far removed from each other, or antithetical to each other.
  3. In AP Model School, the science teacher is burdened with both High school and Intermediate classes, which makes her inflexible to take up Tata Edge classes sometimes.
    • Lesson Learnt: Efficient division of labour among teachers should be ensured to enhance per batch productivity.  Moreover, specialization should be encouraged among teachers so as to enable them to focus on engaging themselves with only a particular class and its accompanying technological component.


The general observation is that if the principal is proactive, the project runs smoothly. The proactive principal involves and evokes interest among all the stakeholders – teachers, parents and the DEO office authorities so that the children are benefited the most. Considering this fact, a general counseling and training session should be conducted by a district nodal agency under the purview of the Human Resource Development Ministry, to encourage the school principals to play a proactive role in the implementation of novel methodological and technological interventions in their schools.

  • Intern’s suggestion: The other issue, though not explicitly children-related, is syncing the lesson plan of the teachers with that of the questions pre-loaded onto the tablets. For instance, a teacher taught 2 sub-topics from section 8.1. Now, she conducts a test on the tablets. Since the questions are pre-loaded, children may face questions not particular to what he has been taught but also from other sub-topics. To solve this problem, it is better to have a centralized lesson plan (and also assessments)
  • Student
  1. After implementation began, the dominant complaints about Tata Edge are its limited content and accent of the narrator. Both are valid concerns. The content was not designed for students from rural background and it is natural both face difficulty in understanding the narrator. Also, the standard of English of the question papers (prepared by Edutor) is high relative to that of the students.
    • Lesson Learnt: Content should be customized to meet the requirements of the students keeping in mind their social, linguistic and geographical background. There should be no disjuncture between the frequency of the transmitter of the message and that of its receiver. The issue of the standard of the language used calls for a two-pronged approach: First, enhance the quality of English education imparted to the students; and secondly, to tone down the level of English language used to frame content, until the students have arrived at a higher level of English.