- The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is an ambitious social welfare scheme launched by the Modi Government in May 2016.
- Under this scheme, the government aims to provide 5 crore LPG connections in the name of women in Below Poverty Line (BPL) households across the country.
- The scheme is aimed at replacing the unclean cooking fuels mostly used in the rural India with the clean and more efficient LPG.
- India is home to more than 24 crore households out of which about 10 crore households are still deprived of LPG as a cooking fuel and have to rely on firewood, coal, dung-cakes etc. as primary sources of cooking.
- With LPG coverage being predominantly in the urban and semi-urban areas, there are serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuels.
- According to WHO estimates, about 5 lakh deaths in India are due to unclean cooking fuels. Experts say, having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour.
Objectives of the Ujjwala Yojana
- Empowering women and protecting their health.
- Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
- Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
- Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.
Eligibility for the Ujjwala Yojana
The identification of the eligible families will be made on the basis of SECC-2011 data.
- The applicant’s name should be in the list of SECC-2011 data.
- The applicant should be a woman above the age of 18 years.
- The woman applicant should belong to a BPL household.
- The woman applicant should have a saving bank account in any nationalized bank across the country.
- The applicant’s household should not already own a LPG connection in anyone’s name.
Budget and Funding of the Ujjwala Yojana
- The Government has allocated Rs. 2,000 crore for the implementation of the Scheme for the financial year 2016-17.
- A total budgetary allocation of Rs. 8,000 crore has been made by the government for the implementation of the scheme over three years.
- The money saved in LPG subsidy through the “Give-it-Up” campaign ( where gas users voluntarily give up their LPG subsidy) will be diverted for the implementation of the scheme.
- It will distribute LPG connections to around 1.5 crore BPL families within the current financial year.
Highlights of the Ujjwala Yojana
- The Scheme will be implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and will be implemented over three years, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19.
- It provides a financial support of Rs. 1600 for each LPG connection to the eligible BPL household.
- The connections under the Scheme will be given in the name of women head of the households.
- The Government will also provide EMI facility for meeting the cost of stove and refill.
Expected Benefits of the Ujjwala Yojana
- Providing LPG connections to BPL households will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country.
- It will empower women and protect their health.
- It will reduce drudgery and the time spent on cooking.
- It will also provide employment opportunities for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas.