Context: Parliamentary committee’s observations on performance of the PM Ujjwala Yojana.
- The government in September, 2019 met the target of eight crore LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.
- But, only three States have become kerosene free. These include- Haryana, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.
- Union Territories that have become kerosene-free are the Union Territories of Delhi, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Andaman & Nicobar Island and Puducherry.
Key issues and gaps highlighted by the Committee:
- The scheme is no longer running. The committee was upset at the closure of the scheme and said there was still a lot of ground to cover.
- There are poor households in the general category in urban and semi-urban localities that also need to be covered.
- Large segments of people in various States still depended on kerosene for cooking and household lighting.
- The scheme should be extended to poor households in urban and semi-urban slum areas.
- There is need for achieving a higher LPG coverage of the population by providing connections to households that do not have LPG.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
Launched in May 2016.
Aim: To provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.
Key features: A deposit-free LPG connection is given to eligible with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
Target: The scheme gained traction with its ambit being expanded to include 80 million poor families from the earlier target of 50 million families with an additional allocation of Rs4,800 crore.
- Applicant must a woman above the age of 18 and a citizen of India.
- Applicant should belong to a BPL (Below Poverty Line) household.
- No one in the applicant’s household should own an LPG connection.
- The household income of the family, per month, must not exceed a certain limit as defined by the government of the Union Territories and State Government.
- Applicant must not be a recipient of other similar schemes provided by the government.
Objectives of the scheme are:
- 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.