chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) and The Energy Resources Institute (TERI), headed by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, have joined hands to create an ambitious communications programme that could, to begin with, help change the lives of about 400 million Indians.
The social awareness programme will address the huge problem of about 400 million Indians (78 million families) who have absolutely no access to electricity. This obviously compromises their basic standards of living, employment, education, health and safety. Currently, about 4,000 million litres of kerosene is burnt as an inefficient substitute for electricity. Kerosene is largely imported, heavily subsidised and spews more than 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Pachauri holds a Padma Vibhushan and is a recipient of the Nobel Prize as chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. With the help of TERI's partners, he aims to transform the lives of Indians by using appropriate technology to harness the unlimited power of solar energy. TERI has developed a cost effective rechargeable solar lantern, and working with NGOs (non-government organisations), TERI has already begun creating the infrastructure for installing solar panels, distributing solar lanterns and managing the operations in identified villages.
In an official communiqué, Pradeep Guha, president, India chapter, and vice-president and area director, Asia Pacific, IAA, says, "This initiative is unique in its scale. It will place on display not just the creative genius of the advertising industry, but also its heart. I hope this campaign is a success and with the help of the IAA worldwide, we plan to take it to other countries, which face similar problems, as well."
Pachauri says, "The Indian ad industry has made its mark globally and is now helping to bring light into the lives of many people in India. The competition to challenge the best innovative minds in this industry for helping TERI is a good initiative." Lighting a Billion Lives is a programme launched worldwide by TERI.