The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) Scheme, launched in July 2019, aims to solarize India’s agricultural electricity use. The PM KUSUM Scheme has three components: A, B, and C. This working paper examines Components A and C of the scheme, which include small solar-powered generators and on-grid solar pumps, respectively. It does not examine Component B, which includes off-grid solutions, because the paper’s scope is restricted to grid-connected irrigation solutions within the PM KUSUM Scheme.

Various organizations and agencies are tracking the overall progress of the PM KUSUM Scheme, but they do not investigate the impact it has had on beneficiaries. They do not seek perspectives from farmers to gauge whether PM KUSUM has affected changes in cropping patterns, that is, the type of crops that are traditionally grown; the levels of debt; or water usage. For example, several states are in the process of refreshing data based on the ongoing implementation of the PM KUSUM initiatives.

Historically, quantitative indicators such as the addition of installed solar capacity have been used to track the progress of solarization projects (van de Kerkhof et al. 2009), but to understand the holistic impact of PM KUSUM on farmers’ lives, it is necessary to also understand the qualitative data and capture the socioeconomic developmental changes within farmers’ communities.

The results framework presented in this working paper will help implementing agencies track progress at various levels (implementation, project data analysis, outcome, and impact), which would include indirect changes. Implementing agencies can use this results framework to capture direct and indirect changes in their respective states and/or locations to holistically look at the various components of the PM KUSUM Scheme from feasibility to implementation to impact, and go beyond tracking just the addition of solar capacity.

To build this results framework, we used the water–energy–food (WEF) ecosystem nexus (UNECE 2022) to understand how the components—water, energy, and food—interact with each other during an intervention. This approach can help map the main themes and operational processes to ensure that M&E expands learnings and helps develop a holistic results framework. The WEF approach also enabled us to include the socioeconomic components of income (Beaton et al. 2019) to align the results framework with goals of the PM KUSUM Scheme. We used a literature review to identify the major themes and operational processes that would need to be included in the results framework.

The working paper also suggests that M&E operational systems can be included to implement the results framework on the ground, which will enable data capture for tracking outcomes. Apart from the final impact evaluation that various governmental schemes engage in, it is important to include evaluation cycles across the programmatic lifeline to understand the gaps in knowledge and mitigate the challenges that arise.

However, the proposed results framework has not been tested on the ground, and its benefits can only be confirmed by doing this. Therefore, the framework is designed to be iterative and dynamic, enabling the lessons learned from practical experience to be understood and facilitating the adjustments needed to gather evidence of changes.