Bengal, UP, Bihar top in providing LPG to poor
Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and Bihar are the top beneficiary states of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY), for giving LPG (cooking gas) connections to the poor. According to Indian Oil, in UP where the scheme was launched in May 2016, close to 46 lakh women from belowpoverty-line households availed the scheme to get LPG connections.
Though launched much later in August, Bengal already added 19.5 lakh beneficiaries to secure the second position, followed by Bihar (19 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (17 lakh) and Rajasthan (14 lakh).
Before the launch, 10 crore out of 24 crore households in India were using low-energy, smoky fuels like coal, firewood, cow dung, etc, causing major health hazards to women and families.
Funded through money saved on LPG subsidy by “give-it-up” campaign, the PMUY scheme aims to offer efficient energy solutions to 5 crore families in three years, at a total cost of Rs. 8,000 crore.
Of the total, 1.5 crore households will get LPG connections this year. Beneficiaries are chosen from the socio economic and caste census 2011. Under the scheme, oil companies have subsidised Rs. 1,600 a family against security deposit and connection charges. Oil companies further offered low-cost stoves against interest free loan to PMUY beneficiaries.
According to RK Mohapatra, General manager and State level coordinator for oil PSUS in Bengal, nationally the scheme has so far helped cover 70 per cent households, up from 61 per cent in May. In Bengal, averages are up from as low as 51 per cent to 63 per cent, since August. A total of nine States including West Bengal, UP, MP, Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam and others where LPG usages were less than national average were focus States of the scheme.
Nationally, 60 per cent of the beneficiaries have gone for refill so far indicating that the connections are not lying dormant. Mohapatra expects the refill status to improve with time.
IN BENGAL, AVERAGES ARE UP FROM AS LOW AS 51 PER CENT TO 63 PER CENT, SINCE AUGUST. A TOTAL OF NINE STATES INCLUDING WEST BENGAL, UP, MP, GUJARAT, BIHAR, RAJASTHAN, ASSAM AND OTHERS WHERE LPG USAGES WERE LESS THAN NATIONAL AVERAGE WERE FOCUS STATES OF THE SCHEME