Prad­han Mantri Ujjwala Yo­jana set to get a ma­jor boost as Oil Min set to ap­point 2.5k new LPG dis­trib­u­tor

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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.

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