PRADHAN MANTRI UJJWALA YOJANA

  • The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana saw a spurt in new distribution just before the 2019 general election as per RTI (Right To Information) plea.
  • The target under the scheme was to release 8 crore LPG connections to the deprived household by 2020. This was achieved in August 2019, seven months ahead of the March 2020 deadline.
  • In August 2021, the Prime Minister launched the second phase of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) or Ujjwala 2.0 Scheme.

Important points:

  • Empowering women and protecting their health.
  • Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
  • Preventing young children from a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning fossil fuel.
  • The scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households.
  • Along with a deposit-free LPG connection, Ujjwala 2.0 will provide the first refill and a hotplate free of cost to the beneficiaries.
  • Under Ujjwala 1.0, the target was to provide LPG connections to 50 million women from the Below Poverty Line (BPL) households, by March 2020. However, in August 2018, women from seven other categories were brought under the purview of the scheme:
  • Under Ujjwala 2.0, an a dditional 10 million LPG connections will be provided to the beneficiaries.
  • Government has also fixed a target of providing piped gas to 21 lakh homes in 50 districts.
  • Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG).
  • In the first phase of the PMUY, 8 crore poor families, including from the Dalit and tribal communities, were given free cooking gas connections.
  • The LPG infrastructure has expanded manifold in the country. In the last six years, more than 11,000 new LPG distribution centres have opened across the country.

Challenges:

  • Encouraging the sustained usage of LPG remains a big challenge, and low consumption of refills hindered recovery of outstanding loans disbursed under the scheme.
  • The annual average refill consumption on 31th December 2018 was only 3.21.
  • There are deficiencies such as the issuance of connections to unintended beneficiaries, and problems with the software of the state-run oil marketing companies for identifying intended beneficiaries and inadequacies in the deduplication process.

Way Forward

  • The scheme should be extended to poor households in urban and semi-urban slum areas.
  • There is a need for achieving a higher LPG coverage of the population by providing connections to households that do not have LPG.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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