Press Releases

Press release: Kerosene for home lighting: A key Indicator to prioritize Districts for Clean Energy Initiatives in India

Nearly 80 million Indian households, approximately 400 million people, do not use grid electricity as the main source of lighting. Of these, almost 94 percent live in rural areas. Out of the 180 million rural households in the country, nearly 43 percent still use kerosene as the primary fuel for lighting (Census of India, 2011).
Data on kerosene consumption when used with other census data (including kind of houses: pucca vs. kuccha; percentage of cultivators, and socio-economic status of population) can provide important insights for effective market mapping. The data from all the above mentioned sources were used for district selection and route planning for the van campaign during the Lighting Asia/India, Consumer Awareness Campaign. Due to the large geographical expanse of India, and to create an impact, the campaign was run in select districts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan, chosen on the basis of need for the product category, purchasing power, etc. Other practioners can use the same to plan their inerventions.
Kerosene consumption is high in India, accounting for 15 percent of global consumption. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), approximately 61 million barrels of kerosene were consumed by Indian households and commercial establishments in 2012. (International Energy Statistics,&syid=2008&eyid=2013&unit=TBPD). In this context, the availability and analysis of household-level kerosene consumption can be a relevant data point for stakeholders and practitioners to identify geographies to focus efforts.
According to the Census of India 2011, over 90 percent of households in three districts, and over 80 percent in thirty districts of Uttar Pradesh, use kerosene as a primary source for lighting. Together, these account for approximately half of all districts in the state (table 1). Data for Bihar shows that over 90 percent of households in 19 districts and over 80 percent in 14 districts use kerosene for lighting; together this accounts for 95 percent of all districts in the state (table 2). In Rajasthan, Banswara district recorded highest percentage of households using kerosene for lighting at 68.6 percent. Overall, more than 50 percent households use kerosene for lighting in 22 of the 33 districts in Rajasthan (table 3).
It comes as no surprise therefore, that 75 percent of all rural households in Uttar Pradesh and 88 percent in Bihar use kerosene as the primary source of lighting. The number for Rajasthan is 50.3 percent.
The census data for kerosene consumption and other parameters including size of households, materials used for housing, condition of houses (good, dilapidated), sources of drinking water, and toilets give insights into rural households in India ( This data can help manufacturers and other clean energy stakeholders to plan sales, awareness campaigns, promotions, and marketing and scale up strategies using limited available resources. The data can help them decide which states/regions to prioritize. India is a large country, prioritizing geographies before rolling out operations can help optimize use of resources.

Table 1: Percentage of rural households using different sources of energy for lighting in Uttar Pradesh
Table 2: Percentage of rural households using different sources of energy for lighting in Bihar
Table 3: Percentage of rural households using different sources of energy for lighting in Rajasthan

Praveen Kumar, Rural Marketing Expert
Anjali Garg, Energy Specialist
Source: Census of India 2011
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About Lighting Asia/India
ighting Asia – India is an IFC market transformation program aimed at increasing access to clean, affordable energy in rural India by promoting modern off-grid lighting products, systems and mini-grid connections. The program works with the private sector to remove market entry barriers, provide market intelligence, foster B2B linkages and raise consumer awareness on modern lighting options. The Lighting Asia/India Program is supported by the governments of United States, Italy, Austria, and Australia. The Program is partnering with manufacturing companies (Barefoot Power, DLight Energy, ECCO Electronics, Greenlight Planet, Omnivoltaic, Orb Energy, Panasonic India Pvt. Ltd and SUNLITE) and distribution companies (Frontier Markets, Dharma Life, Mahindra EPC and TOTAL Oil India Pvt. Ltd) in this effort.