The Odisha government on Friday launched a scheme to distribute free LED bulbs among the poor, with an aim to reduce household expenditure on electricity.
“The Chief Minister has started Ama Ghare LED Bulb programme. Through this scheme, existing 95 lakh beneficiaries enrolled in either NFSA (National Food Security Act) or SFS (State Food Security scheme) will receive four (9 watt) LED bulbs per family so that household electricity charges come down,” said state Energy Secretary Hemant Sharma in a press statement.
The scheme goes a step ahead of the Centre’s zero subsidy scheme, Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA), whose primary aim is to promote energy efficiency. In this scheme, the central government distributes LED bulbs through a state-run company, Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL). EESL procures the appliances and provides them to consumers at the rate of Rs 70 per LED bulb, Rs 220 per LED tube light and Rs 1,110 per fan. EESL’s website claims the rates are “much below the market price”.
“We have distributed 1.85 crore bulbs across Odisha since 2016. Sometimes, we have also distributed bulbs at a subsidised cost of Rs 50-60 in Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan programmes,” said Anil Sahoo, DGM, EESL Odisha.
Odisha BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said, “Under Saubhagya Yojana, the Centre gives two bulbs for free per household. This copycat government just increased that number to four,” he said.