India is home to more than 24 Crore households out of which about 10 Crore households are still deprived of LPG as cooking fuel and have to rely on firewood, coal, dung, cakes etc. as primary source of cooking. The smoke from burning such fuels causes alarming household pollution and adversely affects the health of Women & children causing several respiratory diseases/ disorders. As per a WHO report, smoke inhaled by women from unclean fuel is equivalent to burning 400 cigarettes in an hour. In addition, women and children have to go through the drudgery of collecting firewood.Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG, so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

PMUY was launched on May 1st, 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. Under this scheme, 5 Cr LPG connections will be provided to BPL families with a support of Rs.1600 per connection in the next 3 years. Ensuring women’s empowerment, especially in rural India, the connections will be issued in the name of women of the households. Rs. 8000 Cr. has been allocated towards the implementation of the scheme. Identification of the BPL families will be done through Socio Economic Caste Census Data.

Objectives of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

  • Empowering women and protecting their health.
  • Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
  • Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
  • Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.

Implementation of PM Ujjwala Yojana

The scheme will be implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. This is first time in the history that Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas is implementing such an enormous welfare scheme which will benefit Crores of women belonging to the poorest households.

LPG Panchayats

LPG panchayats, launched in 2017, help in bringing about this change in cooking behaviour in rural areas. According to the design, LPG panchayats bring together about 100 LPG customers on a semi-structured interactive platform to discuss safe and sustainable usage of LPG, its benefits and the linkage between clean fuel for cooking and women’s empowerment. Every LPG panchayat is expected to share the experience of early local adopters of clean fuel, an exercise on comparing the costs of alternative biomass fuels, safety demonstration and feedback on services. An LPG worker is not just providing an energy service. She has become a social change agent.

Expansion of the beneficiaries

Government has extended PM Ujjwala Yojana of providing free cooking gas (LPG) connections to all poor households. While previously the connections were given based on the 2011 Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC), the list was later expanded to include providing free cooking gas connection to all SC/ST households, forest dwellers, most backward classes, inhabitants of islands, nomadic tribes, tea estates and beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Antyodaya Yojana. 

Success of the PMUY

  • Cause of success– It is rare to find a scheme that has so successfully involved stakeholders down to the level of panchayats and had a perfect programme governance. It is learnt that the minister of petroleum and natural gas, the secretaries in the ministries and the chairpersons and managing directors of oil marketing companies personally supervised the work. They visited at least one district to understand the issues on the ground coming in the way and provided solutions.The Ujjwala scheme was possible only because of the robust foundation created by the subsidy payment scheme, direct benefits transfer (DBT), which was another significant achievement of the government.
  • Expanded LPG connections– The scheme took the household coverage from about 56% to about 81% in just three years. That was unimaginable a few years ago when, even for an urban consumer, getting a cylinder was a wait in frustration. Almost everyone in the beneficiary segment and the industry is complementing the doers most deservedly. Despite being a social scheme, the delivery was cost-effective with numbers indicating about ?1,600 spend per beneficiary.
  • The World Health Organisation hailed PMUY as decisive intervention by the government to facilitate the switch to clean household energy use, thereby addressing the problems associated with Indoor Household Pollution.
  • Among states, while Gujarat, Bihar and Uttarakhand are among the top with more than 4 cylinder refills a year, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have witnessed less than three refills a year
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