• The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) launched the Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) to illuminate dark regions through the establishment of solar streetlights.
  • It is a sub scheme under off –grid and decentralized solar application scheme of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Govt. of India.
  • Phase I was implemented during September 2016- March 2018. Phase II is being implemented during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • The Phase-I of Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) for installation of solar streetlights (SSLs) with partial funding from MPLADS Fund was launched in September 2016 for implementation up to 31.03.2018.
  •  Till 31.3.2018, sanctions were issued by respective District Magistrates (DMs) for installation of around 1.45 lakh SSLs by utilizing MPLADS Fund under AJAY Phase-I. 
  • Within the timelines allowed for installation of SSLs, a total of around 1.35 lakh SSLs could be installed.
  • The Phase-II of Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) was launched in December 2018 for implementation within a period of one year, which was later extended till 31.3.2021. However, due to outbreak of COVID-19, the Government had suspended MPLADS Fund for two years i.e. for FY 2020-21 and FY 2021-22 and accordingly, the AJAY Phase-II, which was partially funded through MPLADS Fund, was discontinued w.e.f. 01.04.2020 for new sanctions.
  • The major reasons reported by EESL, the implementing agency for the scheme, for incomplete installations, include delay in confirmation of sites where the SSLs were to be installed, delay in release of funds from MPLADS Fund, etc.
  • A proposal, including for providing solar street lights on the similar lines of AJAY, is under consideration of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

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