PMUY zooms past the halfway mark
By ENS Economic Bureau | Express News Service | Published: 16th July 2017 09:03 AM |
KOLKATA: The government on Saturday marked achieving the halfway mark of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), with President Pranab Mukherjee handing over LPG connection number 2.5 crore to Gouri Sarkar of Raghunathgunj, West Bengal.In all, 10 women from the President’s hometown Jangipur as well as Raghunath Ganj and Murshidabad were handed over free connections at a ceremony.
The event, attended by Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, marks a crucial milestone in the mission which seeks to provide LPG connections to women beneficiaries from below poverty line households. Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1, 2016 at Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, the programme aims at providing 5 crore such LPG connections in three years, part of a larger program of adding 10 Crore new LPG connections by 2019 to achieve full coverage of connections in Indian households.
The programs are focused towards reducing the use of polluting fuels such as wood and dried cow dung that, according to the World Health Organization, causes 1.3 million premature deaths in India every year. The indoor and near-home pollution generated by burning wood and cow dung is the leading cause of premature death in India after high blood pressure.
As of date, the largest amount of connections (55 lakh) have been released in UP, according to Pradhan, who added that West Bengal came second in the number of connections provided. To expand penetration in the state further, the government will commission more than distributorships in the state.
Government officials say that this is the first time that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is implementing a welfare scheme, which currently provides an assistance of Rs 1,600 to the woman beneficiary, comprising security deposit of 14.2 Kg cylinder and domestic pressure regulator; suraksha hose; domestic gas consumer card and installation charges.
“The scheme of providing clean cooking fuel has also reduced drudgery, the time spent on cooking and also provides employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas,” said the government statement. In financial year 2016-17, Oil Marketing Companies have given 3.25 crore new connections across the country -- the highest ever LPG connections released in any given year. In the current fiscal, PMUY connections have been presented so far to women beneficiaries, taking the total number of active LPG consumers to 20.7 crores. LPG demand has registered a growth rate of more than 33 per cent during last three years. More than 5,000 new distributors have been added in the last three years, primarily in rural areas.
The government has earmarked H8,000 crore to provide free LPG connection to women from BPL families and targets increasing LPG penetration to 80 per cent.