The Indian government has purchased 50 million LED bulbs for resale to the public at a little over a dollar per bulb for end users.
India's Business Standard website described the purchase as 'the world's single largest tender' for LED bulbs.
The sale extends Prime Minister Narendra Modi's programme to resell huge volumes of LEDs as he pushes for energy conservation in a country that suffers from power shortages. LED's are known for their energy efficiency.
As Lux reported in January, the government was offering LED lamps for 130 rupees each (about $2.00) rather than the then market price of between 350 to 600 rupees ($5.50 to $9.50). The programme was set to kick off in March in the Delhi area and expand nationally.
The latest development brings the end user price down to 77 rupees ($1.21) per bulb across four regions with three more to follow soon, the Business Standard reported.
'Industry officials said prices can come down further when an even larger tender to procure about 60 million bulbs will be floated in the fourth quarter of the calendar year,' the paper wrote, noting that additional states would then become eligible
Under the plan, the government's Energy Efficency Services Ltd (EESL) buys the bulbs and arranges for their distribution through power companies.
EESL is part of the Ministry of Power, and itself consists of a national generating company, a finance company, a rural electrification company and a power transmission company.
The Business Standard reported that the government is paying 3.85 billion rupees ($60.6 million) for the 50 million lamps, buying them from various suppliers including Philips, Osram, Bajaj Electricals and Crompton Greaves.
The states eligible for the 77-rupee bulbs are Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, with Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh coming soon.
Market prices for unsubsidised LED bulbs in India are now around 250-300 rupees ($3.90 to $4.70) and for compact fluorescent bulbs are around 100 rupees ($1.57).
Photo is from Narendra Modi via Flickr