ujjwala-lpg-scheme

Context-

In the financial year 2021­-22, 90­lakh beneficiaries of the flagship welfare scheme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), did not take refill gas cylinders. And over one crore beneficiaries got their refills only once. 

This was revealed in a RTI reply from the three oil marketing firms Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL), and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL). 

As per a reply by Union Petroleum Minister, in the Lok Sabha this year, the LPG consumption under the PMUY remains at 3.66 refills per connection annually. The beneficiaries have already availed 14.17 crore free refills under the scheme.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

Tag -  “Swachh Indhan, Behtar Jeevan“

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ (PMUY) was launched by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MOPNG) in May 2016, as a flagship scheme to make clean cooking fuels such as LPG available to the rural and deprived households which were using traditional fuel sources like firewood, coal, cow-dung cakes etc, which has detrimental impacts on the health of rural women as well as on the environment.
  • The scheme was first launched on 1st May 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh 
  • The target under the scheme was 8 Crore LPG connections by March 2020 to deprived households.
  •  The release of 8 Crore LPG connections under the scheme has also helped in increasing the LPG coverage from 62% on 1st May 2016 to 99.8% as on 1st April 2021. 

PMUY 2.0

  • Providing ease of access to migrant workers who find it difficult to submit address proof. Now it will be issued based on their ‘self declaration’
  • Additional 1 crore connections for low income households
  • Minimum paperwork for enrollment

Objectives of the scheme are:

  • To empower women and protect their health.
  • To reduce serious health risks associated with fossil fuel based cooking
  • Reducing the mortality number due to unclean cooking fuel.
  • To save children from getting acute respiratory problem arising due to indoor air pollution from cooking fuel

Features of the scheme-

  • Cash assistance upto Rs 1600 for new LPG connection which covers all the associated charges related to a new LPG connection
  • All beneficiaries will receive first LPG refill and hotplate free of cost by the Oil Marketing Companies.

Who are eligible-

  • Only women applicants above the age of 18 can apply under Ujjwala scheme
  • Applicant should belong to a Below Poverty Line household.
  • There should not be any other LPG connection in the household
  • Should not be the recipient under any similar schemes

Achievements of PMUY:

  • Increased LPG coverage across India from 62% on 1st May 2016 to 99.8% as on 1st April 2021.
  • Almost 1 lakh people got employment under the LPG distribution network.
  • During Covid, almost 14 crore free LPG refills were provide to PMUY beneficiaries as part of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package.

Challenges:

  • Low Refills: Encouraging the sustained usage of LPG needs a behavioural change which is a big challenge, and low refilling is hindering recovery of outstanding loans disbursed under the scheme.
  • Problem in the system- Problems like issuance to unintended beneficiaries, technical glitches in the software of the state-run oil marketing companies for identifying intended beneficiaries and inadequacies and corrupt uses in the names of false beneficiaries.

Way Forward

  • Need for extending the scheme to poor households in urban and semi-urban slum areas.
  • Duplication of beneficiaries and issuance to ineligible beneficiaries needs to be checked through proper authentication using the Aadhar numbers of all household members.
  • Softwares needs to be updated so that the process of beneficiary registration and authentication is smoothed.