Ashok Bharti

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005
National Conference of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR)


This profile was prepared when Ashok Bharti was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Beginning with an electricity cooperative in Delhi’s slums, Ashok is reinventing the relationship between poor consumers and service providers and paving the way for an inclusive ownership structure of all civic amenities. Ashok is setting up cooperatives for the distribution of electricity in slums, using a participatory model that is profitable for both the private sector and the consumers. In doing so, he is replacing with quality service what is currently a corrupt system controlled by a power mafia, thereby turning poor people into legitimate consumers, connecting them with the democratic process, and protecting them from extortion as well as harassment from the authorities.
At the same time, Ashok is proving to the government and the private sector that his cooperative model is good business. This mutually beneficial model can serve as a template to spread further infrastructure and civic services to poor people, prompting the government to become more responsive, accountable and participatory in its social services.
Ashok is in the process of partnering with the Tata Power Company’s distribution arm, North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL), which supplies power to one-third of Delhi City, for his pilot program, and plans to continue this collaboration in spreading his model throughout India.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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