chapter  8
The Continuing Debate
WithDouglas F. Barnes
Pages 15

Rural electrification is an important component of energy strategies for developing nations. Portraying rural electrification as a universal solution to rural energy and development problems certainly was incorrect. The evaluation and resolution of the policy issues in the 1980s rural electrification controversy involved assessing improvements in rural productivity, determining the social benefits and weighing the economic benefits and costs. Businesses in rural areas of India, Colombia and Indonesia typically included small commercial shops, grain mills, sawmills, and brick-making. In the 1970s and 1980s, India's policy of stressing the importance of electricity for rural development led to a greater agricultural impact than was experienced in Colombia or Indonesia at the time. Rural electrification has had an impact on India's agricultural development through use of irrigation pumps and new agricultural technologies. The improvements in irrigation, cropping intensity and use of agricultural innovations led directly to higher agricultural productivity.