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New Delhi: Power and new and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh on Wednesday launched the Gram Ujala scheme in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi. The scheme offers the world’s cheapest LED bulbs in rural areas at 10.

Gram Ujala programme is financed entirely through carbon credits. Under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the scheme will claim carbon credits. Also, under the new scheme, the rural consumer’s incandescent and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs will be taken back.

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“As we scale up, this programme will boost rural employment and local economies. It has tremendous potential to uplift India's villages & contribute in climate change mitigation," Singh said in a tweet.

The first phase of the scheme, which comes with no government support or subsidy, was launched from Arrah in Bihar. In the first phase 15 million LED bulbs will be distributed across villages of Arrah (Bihar), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), and western Gujarat.

“Power Minister said that India is leading in energy transition as well as energy efficiency. This scheme is designed specifically for rural homes keeping affordability in mind and it will also result in energy savings as a 12 Watt LED bulb gives equivalent light as of 100 watt incandescent bulb," union power ministry said in a statement.

The bulbs are offered by state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd’s subsidiary Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) by leveraging scale. Mint earlier reported about the proposed scheme for offering 600 million LED bulbs in rural areas at 10 per piece.

“Under phase 1 of GRAM UJALA programme 1 crore 50 lakh LED bulbs will be distributed which will have a significant impact on India’s climate change action energy savings of 2025 million kWh/year and CO2 reductions of 1.65 million T CO2/year. The programme will enable better illumination, at an affordable price of INR 10/bulb. This will usher in a better standard of life, financial savings, more economic activity, and better safety for rural citizens," the statement added.

According to EESL, India is currently the second-largest LED market in the world by value. The government’s previous Ujala (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All) scheme had cut LED bulb prices to 70 apiece from around 310 in 2014. Under Gram Ujala, the new scheme, the revenue earned from carbon credits will contribute 60 per LED bulb piece, with the balance 10 to be paid by the rural consumer.

“Power Minister further lauded EESL’s efforts in implementing UJALA scheme under which 36 crores LED bulbs have been distributed and 1 crore 15 lakh streetlights have been replaced with LED lights across the country resulting in energy savings of thousands of megawatts," the statement said.

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