Railways Minister, Piyush Goyal, is known to be one of the most hardworking and efficient ministers in the current government. His style of and approach to working is akin to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s – a holistic and 360 degrees vision to all-round development. Perform or perish has been his mantra. He employed the same mantra in every role he has worked in. He is at the forefront of bringing corporate work ethics in government jobs especially the Railways, to make the transportation behemoth efficient and passenger friendly.
For centuries, Indian Railway have used incandescent lamps and later switched to CFL lights in coaches. The household lighting went through an LED revolution when Piyush Goyal was at the Ministry of Power (Independent charge) from 26 May 2014 to 3 September 2017.
Over 280 million LED bulbs were distributed to consumers in India by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) under Unnati Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) as on December 19th 2017, and 524.3 million LED bulbs have been sold by private players till October 2017.
Under the leadership of Piyush Goyal, EESL, a public sector energy service company, was given task of producing LED bulbs in bulk- thus reducing costs by more than 80% – from Rs.310 (February 2014) to Rs.65 (April 2017, without taxes).
Piyush Goyal is very innovative and Man of ideas, he is using his LED revolution experience at the Ministry of Power to improve lighting in Railways and make it more energy efficient.
The North East Frontier Railway (NFR), as part of its upgradation program, retrofitted LED bulbs in 1890 passenger coaches. The railway plans to replace the incandescent lamps and CFL lights with LED bulbs in all the coaches in next one or two years.
The Railway is also improving station lighting to airport standards. The CFL lights incandescent lamps ‘unevenly’ distribute the light and need 40 percent more power compared to LED bulbs. Therefore, the government has decided replacing these bulbs in the all whole railway to setup with LED bulbs. The lighting at Guwahati, Dibrugarh, New Cooch Behar, New Jalpaiguri, Kathihar and Rangiya stations has been already inmproved to airport standards.
As per a report by Government of India, 20W LED tubes lights which are 50% more energy efficient than conventional 40W tube lights. The price of LED bulbs also dropped by 40 percent after EESL started mass production.
The Government has also changed the face of urban areas with its streetlight replacement programme with energy efficient streetlights. More than 20 lakh have already been replaced in the country and cities are now saving money on electricity bills while shining brighter.
As a result, the UJALA programme has in fact led to increase in manufacturing capacity to about 3-4 crore LED bulbs every month, from about 1-2 lakh three years ago. The programme is a ‘Make in India’ success story as it has made India the fastest growing LED market in the world, accounting for 12% of the global demand. By encouraging energy efficient lifestyles, the UJALA programme is cutting 23 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, thereby contributing to eco-friendly living while at the same time saving public money.
The Centre’s LED schemes show how a government company like EESL can outperform expectations and take on ambitious goals like replacing India’s 770 million incandescent lights with LED. This also proves that citizens will embrace eco-friendly lifestyles when schemes deliver benefits directly to the people. Crafted to be self-sufficient instead of depending on subsidies, the UJALA programme is an example of good governance with good economics.
Piyush Goyal has had a long tenure as a corporate executive and so he was opposed to the lackadaisical and infamous ‘bureaucratic attitude’ of the railway employees. Therefore the ‘perform or perish’ mantra was adopted for railway employees. The ministry also introduced productivity linked bonus (PLB) for non-gazetted employees to send the clear message that performance and performance alone will determine the extent of promotions and bonuses. Introduction of ‘corporate work ethics’ has made the railways efficient; one must thank Piyush Goyal for the change.