In January 2015, the honorable prime minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi launched a scheme for LED bulb distribution under the domestic efficient lighting program. Under this scheme, households can avail LED bulbs at subsidized rates. The primary motive of this scheme was to replace other environment polluting sources of lighting with LED bulbs across households and commercial facilities in India. Along with ensuring environment friendliness, this scheme was also supposed to lessen the overall power consumption, an issue that India has been grappling with for many decades now. This scheme has received an overwhelmingly positive response from people in India, with households across the country replacing their fluorescent bulbs with LED ones. As of 17th October, 2017, over 26,98,46,277 LEDs have been distributed across India ( as per official sources). This figure in just under 3 years is enough to suggest that this scheme has been successful in it’s endeavor.

Along with India, many countries and social organizations the world over have undertaken similar initiatives, with the basic idea behind all such initiatives being to lessen environment pollution and getting holistic benefits as a result of reduced power requirement. An important fact to note here is that LED Lighting sources were very expensive until some years ago and apparently out of reach of common folks. It’s here that these initiatives have greatly helped spread the use of LED Lighting sources, by cutting down on the prices of LED bulbs. So why should you all switch to LED lights, we will discuss that in detail.

LED lights – A historical perspective

As is common knowledge, people used candles, gas lights, oil lamps etc. before the advent of incandescent lighting sources. Although the first incandescent lighting was developed in the year 1802, it’s usage became common only in the early 20th century, fully replacing candles and oil lamps by 1950’s. The first LED lighting products were developed in the early 1960’s but they lacked the requisite brightness and efficiency that people associate with them today. Afterwards, various organizations across the world undertook extensive research and multiple stages of LED redesign, resulting in the development and subsequent availability of first high brightness LED bulb in the year 1994. Over the past few years, as people have become more and more aware of the environmental harm incandescent bulbs cause, the usage of LED lighting sources has spiraled.

Advantages accorded by LED lighting products

As mentioned above, LED lighting products accord many advantages over incandescent bulbs. We look at these in some detail.

  • As compared to other lighting sources, LED lights have a much longer operational life, ensuring cost savings in the long run
  • Incandescent bulbs have an energy efficiency of only around 20 percent, it means around 80 percent of the electricity is lost as heat. Now compare this with the energy efficiency of LED lighting sources, which stands at 80 percent, meaning only about 20 percent of the electricity is lost as heat
  • These lights operate flawlessly even under the most adverse conditions
  • Another important feature of LED Lights is almost zero UV emission. This makes these lights ideal for use in places where UV sensitive objects are kept, like in museums, art galleries etc.
  • Everyone would have heard of the fact that the more number of times you switch incandescent lights on and off, the lesser is their life. LED lighting products have no such issues
  • LED lights can work flawlessly well even in cases of very low voltage power supply
  • These are very economical in use, as these ensure considerable reduction in monthly power bills.

What can India achieve by switching to LED lighting

  • Uninterrupted supply of power is still a pipe dream in many parts of India. The primary reasons for this is the wide gap in demand and supply. Through replacing other lighting sources by LED lights, India can save considerable power, thus ensuring supply of power to all corners of the country
  • This uninterrupted supply of power will surely result in holistic benefits for the Indian society, ranging from high employment as a result of increased industrial activity to other benefits that people will receive
  • Another issue that plagues India is the lack of maintenance of street and highway lights. Whether it be city roads or national highways, large parts of both are plunged in darkness after sunset everyday. The most unfortunate result of this is the accidents that take place, resulting in innumerable causalities. By using LED lights, India can avoid all this
  • The usage of LED lighting sources will also help India to meet it’s environmental obligations that it has signed as treaties on major world forums
  • The savings which people will make by using LED lights will be further spent by them to buy other products. This will have a cyclical benefit for the Indian economy

Challenges faced by India in it’s quest for universal LED usage

Even after taking into account the overwhelming response the LED distribution scheme has received, India still has innumerable challenges to grapple with before it realizes it’s dream of universal LED usage.

  • Even after the fact that the distribution scheme was widely promoted, people in many parts of India haven’t heard about it and as a result are yet to avail the benefits of the scheme
  • Another major challenge is the fact that in many parts of India, people are not familiar with what an LED is and as is basic human nature, lack of familiarity breeds suspicion. This is also a very big reason for a lot of people not yet availing the LED lights
  • Although the initial pricing has been kept reasonable and is at a bare minimum, a lot of people have the tendency to look only at short term or one time cost. This is the reason why a lot of people still prefer incandescent bulbs, since they are available starting at INR 15
  • Since the LED distribution scheme is a large government project, there are bound to be innumerable logistical issues. Although to be fair, the government has done well to make sure these issues are kept at a bare minimum
  • Lack of cooperation amongst different levels of the government. Already it has been observed that some states have leaped ahead in LED distribution while some are lagging far behind. A coherent approach needs to be undertaken to correct this and ensure speedier distribution of LED lights across all parts of India

Future of LED lighting

The fact that the usage of LED lighting products is going to increase further in future is a well known fact. Thankfully, the perception amongst people of LED Lights has also changed considerably, with people now much more positive and open to their use. With time, LED lighting sources will become more and more advanced, with their operational efficiencies going up further. Schemes such as the LED distribution scheme undertaken by the Indian government will go a long way in promoting the usage of these lights. Other governments across the world, notably in China and Japan are making similar endeavors aimed at increasing the usage of these lights. We can be sure of the fact that LED lights will replace other sources of lighting in domestic, commercial well as industrial facilities in future.


Q. Are LED lights more environmentally friendly?

Ans. LED lighting has many environmental benefits, including being energy efficient, creating no harmful toxins, using fewer light fixtures, and having a longer lifespan.

Q. What are the benefits of LED lighting?

Ans. LEDs with good quality have a lifespan of 30,000–50,000 hours or even longer, depending on the light or fixture.