Sudhanshu Ranade

Chennai, Jan. 20

LESS than half a percentage point of rural households relied on the moon and the stars for lighting up their homes at night, according to the 2001 Census.

To be precise, the figure is 0.3 per cent, surprisingly smaller than the corresponding figure for urban households, 0.4 per cent. But then, these households probably used streetlights. Kerosene topped the list with 77 million rural households (56 per cent). Almost all the remaining households used electricity.

For India as a whole, electricity led the field with 107 million users (55.8 per cent). Kerosene (43 per cent) came next. Only three out of every four householders in towns and cities used electricity to light up their homes in 1991.

By 2001, this figure was up at47 million households (87.6 per cent) , as compared to less than 30 million in 1991.

Thirty per cent of rural households used electricity in 1991. By 2001, this proportion had inched its way up to 43.5 per cent (60 million households). Only 42.4 per cent of all households had electricity in 1991. 43.3 per cent still have to depend on kerosene.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 21, 2005)
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