Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana set to get a major boost as Oil Min set to appoint 2.5k new LPG distributor
Buoyed by the speed of achieving the 1.5-crore beneficiary target under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) and to strengthen the supply chain to boost the ambitious scheme, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas has identified five states wherein 2,500 new liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distributors will be given licences.
“Soon, Bihar, Jharkhand Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal will get a total of 2,500 new distributors,” said a government official requesting anonymity.
These will be in addition to the locations already been identified and advertised for, including Uttar Pradesh (1,028), Odisha (400), Uttarakhand (77) and Punjab (26).
The NDA government in May 2016 launched PMUY with an aim to provide clean cooking fuel to 5 crore women belonging to the below poverty line category with the first year target at 1.5 crore. However, the target was achieved within eight months by the start of December 2016.FE had earlier reported that the government will launch the scheme in the North-Eastern states of the country.
According to Vivek Jain, associate director with India Ratings and Research, care should be taken to appoint distributors in the seven states of the North-East and rural parts of the rest of India. “The vision of the Prime Minister was to replace earthen stoves with gas stoves, and the former are mostly used in rural areas,” added Jain.
The government has allocated Rs 8,000 crore for PMUY out of which a budgetary provision of Rs 2,000 crore has been made for the current financial year. The scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1,600 for each LPG connection being issued.
The official added that 56 additional new distributorship have been approved for state-owned agencies — 50 in Chhattisgarh and 6 in Andhra Pradesh — on a nomination basis which will operate in difficult terrains. Parts of these states are affected due to Naxal activities. In total, the country has roughly around 18,100 distributors.
However, the government had targeted to issue licences to 10,000 distributors in the current financial year which it has not been able to achieve. The official said 500 new distributors were appointed in the current financial year and an additional 1,000 have been issued letters of intent.
According to an oil marketing company executive who requested not to be identified, the target for the current year may be revised to 2 crore beneficiaries, given the success rate of the first year.
As per a government release, after the implementation of PMUY, the national coverage of LPG has improved from 61% at the start of the calendar year to 70% by the start of December.
The efforts to have more number of LPG users gel with the country’s effort to move towards a clean fuel-based economy concurrent with the Paris climate change agreement.