As a part of their CSR initiative, Syska has decided to provide LED bulbs to the poorer and rural sections of India at a low price. One crore 9 watt bulbs, which come with a two year guarantee, have been allotted for the purpose. Currently, their bulbs are priced at Rs. 200 per unit, but under their CSR scheme, they are selling the bulbs at Rs. 85 per unit.
At a conference held in Kolkata, the Vice President of Syska, O. P. Singh and the Managing Director of Aditya Info Services, Amit K. Choudhary announced that they plan to introduce this scheme in Kolkata and other rural areas of West Bengal. They plan to cover 70% of the state in three months.
It is interesting to note that the company hadn’t participated in the similar UJALA Yojana, which was initiated by the Ministry of Power, India on January 05, 2015. This scheme was started to encourage people, especially in the rural areas, to use more energy efficient LED bulbs. Companies, namely, Havells, Philips, Surya Roshni, and the NTL Group had participated in it. Last year, Philips won a contract for providing five crore bulbs under the said scheme. The price set for each LED bulb provided under the UJALA scheme is Rs 70 per unit, Rs 15 cheaper than the Syska bulbs.
While talking to BE about the fast growing LED market in India, O.P. Singh said, “We have started our company with LED, so we have taken a huge initiative, gone ahead with huge marketing, and we have a huge budget. So we have got the first advantage in LED.” Singh added that launched in 2012, Syska is now the number one LED in the market, close to Philips and Surya. Speaking of his non-participation in the UJALA programme, he says, “Syska did not participate in the UJALA programme. Philips, Havells, Surya etc. were associated with the initiative.” Criticising the programme, he said, “The government hasn’t replaced the bulbs. There was no replacement policy. Many stocks are lying in the godown out of which 25-40% of the distributed bulbs are defective”.
Because of government policy, every company must contribute 2% of its earnings to CSR. Even though they have drawn lessons from the UJALA programme, the scheme is likely to be met with scepticism where people are not educated about the long-term economic advantage of LEDs over normal bulbs. Also, Syska is only distributing 9W bulbs, unlike the UJALA scheme, which distributed fans and tube lights as well. Last year, Syska had not bid for the procurement, which was being done by the government and chose to stick to a market price much higher than the government determined one.
Singh attributes the probability of the success of their programme over the UJALA scheme due to their homework and preparation before launching the programme. Making bulbs accessible through shops and not temporary canopies and having a replacement strategy are some of the ways they want to steer away the project from failure. Additionally, he argues that their product has absolutely no carbon emission.
The UJALA scheme last year had prompted the major LED companies to protest, asking the government to reduce intake, which was harming their commercial interests. Havell’s Sunil Sikka was worried about the market and distribution balance being harmed by the widespread artificial demand, as reported in the Business Standard.
Syska is currently occupying 40% of the LED market in India and hopes to grow about 60-70% in the next five years, according to their Vice President. They are also planning to venture in the wires and cables market and a factory in Bhilwara, Rajasthan is in process. In the upcoming festive season, Syska plans to advertise more widely, and will be sponsoring lighting of around 40-50 pandals during the Durga Puja festivities.