The programme is a long standing initiative to increase access to electricity in rural areas. The Rural Electrification Programme MAREP operates under the Rural Electrification Act of 2004 which has also established the Rural Electrification Fund.
The rural electrification programme uses various off-grid and on-grid options. Development of micro, mini and small hydropower stations are supported under MAREP. Rural electrification also means renewable energy resource based electrification whose internal rate of return is up to 6%.