Modi govt’s Ujjwala scheme leaves women health­ier, hap­pier

Cen­tre’s flag­ship LPG scheme for BPL house­holds now has 2.17 cr con­nec­tions

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS - SURABHI/ TWESH MISHRA

They are health­ier, their homes are cleaner and they have more time to them­selves, say most ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the Prad­han Mantri Ujjwala Yo­jana, the Cen­tre’s flag­ship scheme to pro­vide LPG con­nec­tions to be­low-poverty­line house­holds.

A sur­vey un­der­taken by fi­nan­cial con­sult­ing firm Mi­croSave in 12 dis­tricts of eastern, cen­tral and western Ut­tar Pradesh, re­vealed that nearly all of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the scheme switched to cook­ing on gas as soon as the LPG cylin­ders were made avail­able.

For women, who are the chief ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the scheme, the as­sess­ments re­vealed that cook­ing on gas stoves helped save at least 1-2 hours daily, which they used for leisure ac­tiv­i­ties or other house­hold pur­suits. This was partly be­cause cook­ing on gas was faster, and be­cause it saved them the time and ef­fort needed to go out to col­lect fire­wood.

“They re­ported spend­ing time chat­ting with their neigh­bours, rest­ing, or even do­ing other house­hold work,” said Manoj Sharma, Di­rec­tor, Mi­croSave Asia.

Half way there

Launched by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on May 1, 2016, at Bal­lia in Ut­tar Pradesh, over 2.17 crore BPL fam­i­lies in 694 dis­tricts across the coun­try have re­ceived LPG con­nec­tions under the PMUY.

The scheme in­tends to make avail­able 5 crore LPG con­nec­tions over 3 years to women in BPL fam­i­lies, with each house­hold be­ing pro­vided a fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance of ₹1,600. The up­front pay­ment re­quired for an LPG con­nec­tion is waived so as to make the scheme more at­trac­tive.

The BPL fam­i­lies are iden­ti­fied in con­sul­ta­tion with the gov­ern­ments of States and Union Ter­ri­to­ries.

The sur­vey also re­vealed that women found their houses to be cleaner now, in the ab­sence of smoke emis­sions that would ear­lier come with us­ing biomass and fire­wood, stain­ing their uten­sils and roofs with soot.

The lack of smoke had also re­duced health prob­lems in women, such as burn­ing sen­sa­tion in the eyes, cough­ing and even headaches.

“Most ben­e­fi­cia­ries were very sat­is­fied with the scheme,” said Sharma, adding that the en­rol­ment of ap­pli­cants was also smooth and or­derly, and took just about 1015 days for every el­i­gi­ble fam­ily.

The as­sess­ments, which cov­ered LPG deal­ers, vil­lagelevel rep­re­sen­ta­tives, PMUY ben­e­fi­cia­ries and non-users (who had ap­plied but did not get con­nec­tions) also found that safety in­struc­tions had to be pro­vided as the tar­geted house­holds had no prior ex­po­sure to cook­ing on LPG stoves.

Ben­e­fi­cia­ries re­quired in­struc­tions that low-rise thatched ceil­ing, poor ven­ti­la­tion, flammable house ma­te­ri­als and cloth­ing were ma­jor risks while cook­ing on gas stoves.

“The Ujjwala scheme has also in­creased the as­pi­ra­tions of ben­e­fi­cia­ries, who now also wish for items such as lighters to light their gas stoves with,” said Sharma.


A hoard­ing in Mandya, Kar­nataka ad­ver­tises the Prad­han Mantri Ujjwala Yo­jana The Ujjwala scheme has also in­creased the as­pi­ra­tions of ben­e­fi­cia­ries, who now also wish for items such as lighters to light their gas stoves with

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