For India that for long struggled with electricity generation, moving to clean energy options at a nationwide level required an unprecedented approach and an unparalleled leadership. While the first came in the form of ‘Unnat Jyoti By Affordable LEDs for All’ or the UJALA programme, the nation had the opportunity to witness the able leadership when Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated the movement by changing one light bulb for an LED at South Block in New Delhi. India’s tryst with LEDs had begun.
UJALA programme, spearheaded by now Railways Minister Piyush Goyal in its initial days, has been one of the most transparent, consistent, and collaborative initiatives of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. Transparent, for the government, offered websites and mobile apps for voters to track its progress. Consistent, for like some other programmes of the government, it did not lose momentum after a few energetic weeks. Collaborative, for like Aadhaar, it included a number of kiosks or centres for the sale of LED bulbs, fans, and tube lights, and inevitably required the support of the electorate.
Initially known as DELP (Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme), an acronym the Vice-President surely wouldn’t have approved of, UJALA aims to create awareness amongst consumers when it comes to using LEDs for domestic purposes. Including any household with a metered electricity connection, the scheme made consumers eligible to get LED bulbs at a subsidised price from government enabled centres in their region. Keeping in mind the Lower Income Groups and Economically Weaker Sections, the programme allowed consumers to purchase these LEDs through Easily Monthly Installments (EMIs) attached to their electricity bill. The accessibility factor was catered to brilliantly, for it was indispensable to the success of UJALA. Read More
Under the UJALA programme, 9W LED bulbs, 20W tube lights, and BEE five star rated fans have been uniformly priced at Rs. 70, Rs. 220, and Rs. 1200 across India, as told by the Energy Efficiency Service Ltd. (EESL), the nodal agency for implementing the UJALA programme via power distribution companies and other retail portals, both offline and online.
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